Summer is pretty much here, and you all know what that means. Time to crank up the AC and chill out while driving. Though the AC may not blow cold for some of you, on a Prius, that usually means a refrigerant leak.
Before you head out to the local auto parts store, let me give you some information to help you make an informed decision on what to buy.
What To Buy And What To Avoid
I helped a fellow Prius owner the other day get his AC up and working again, and it got me thinking, do people know what to get when they come in? Probably not.
If you want to get your AC going without doing a repair, do yourself a favor and get the correct refrigerant. Get the stuff with leak detection dye.
The dye will help you find the area where the refrigerant is leaking out. That way, it will be easier to diagnose the root issue with your AC problem.
Avoid putting anything in your AC system that says "stop leak" or "sealer". The reason is, if your leak is large enough, the sealer will not plug the hole, but now your whole system is contaminated with that junk.
AC sealer, to me, is still a mystery why it is being sold. I guess auto parts stores love to sell parts? Probably. You will likely end up replacing all of your AC system if you put that in there, so just avoid it.
What To Fill Your System With
Newer Toyota Prius models come with a new type of refrigerant 1234yf. Make sure you check the label under the hood to know what kind of refrigerant you need. If you are using the mentioned type, go see the dealer, you are probably still under warranty.
For the rest of us, the most common refrigerant is still R134a. If you are going to DIY and fill your Prius, get a fill hose that shows you the system pressure.
The gauge on the hose will show you where your pressure should be while you fill the system. While it is somewhat of exact science, that little gauge will help ensure you do not overfill.
AC troubles are the worst when it is hot outside. Be the savvy owner about taking the proper steps to ensure you are doing the right thing for your AC system.
If you need further help on the matter, find me on Twitter @the_hybrid_guy or on Toyota Prius Owners Club on Facebook.
Thank you all for reading, and have a pleasant day. I look forward to seeing you in the following article. Want to know if my recent venture on a Camry hybrid has been worth it? Take a look.
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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.