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Why You Should Never Use A/C Refrigerant With Sealer In Your Toyota Prius

Thinking of giving your Prius A/C system a boost because it is low? Before you do read this to ensure you are not messing up anything else in your A/C system.

If your Prius A/C has not been very cold, you may have thought about adding some refrigerant. The problem with that is, most people will walk into any local auto parts store and buy whatever without looking at the label.

The second worst part about that is, the people behind the counter are usually not trained well enough to steer you in the right direction for what you need.

Look at what you need to know about refrigerant for your Prius and what to stay away from.

Signs You Need Refrigerant In Your A/C System For Your Prius
Sometimes our A/C system in our cars can feel warmer than usual. This problem is usually due to the refrigerant or "freon" not being up to full capacity. If there is not enough, the heat cannot be removed, and the cooling effect we usually feel will not happen.

2010 Toyota Prius Engine bay Warm air coming from the vents is one sign you may need to add refrigerant to your A/C. Other symptoms may include things like an a/c compressor running all the time or maybe not at all.

But before you go full-blown YouTube certified and thought you could do it yourself to save money, read these tips from professionals about how to get cold air again.

Tip Number One: If You Do Not Know, Do Not Attempt Trying It
This tip may seem like it is bait to get you into a shop and pay hundreds of dollars for something that could take you less than five minutes to fix. However, think about this. A trained professional can not only fix your immediate needs but also may spot other problems your untrained eyes will not.

A professional can get you "in the know" of what you need to be watching out for when an A/C system starts to fail. A good heads up for an expensive job like that can be assuring and help you decide whether to keep or discard the Prius.

Tip Number Two: Auto Parts People Are Almost Useless
Have you ever gone to an auto parts store to get something like an air-freshener, then been asked what the year, make, and model is? Yeah, you are not the first. As grateful as I am for those workers behind the counters, they are not trained to know much about the stuff they are selling other than the item's warranty.

It is sad more than anything, but it is even worse when they tell you to buy something you should not, like A/C refrigerant with a sealer. The people at the store know that your car takes r134a and that the can says it works with r134a systems. That is the extent of their knowledge.

Trust your Toyota Dealer for parts

What they are not telling you is why you should look for the stuff without sealer. Sealant in these cans can stop small leaks. It is designed to do that. Now the remainder of gunk that is now floating around in your system, and guess what? It is going to cost you big money when it breaks.

That is the major problem, and here is why. If you need your system fixed in the future, guess what? Your system is contaminated, and no repair shop in their right mind is going to recover your car. That gunk will plug up their A/C machine, and then their machine is now worthless.

For this reason, shops have "sniffer" machines that can detect if your A/C system has it or not. Then if it does, guess what, you have to get a complete system overhaul. Bring money, because it is going to be expensive.

The thing with A/C is if you do not understand it, do not attempt it. If you do understand it, only use clean, sealant-free refrigerant. This will ensure that you keep your system clean while you find out where the leak is coming from. Then you can repair it properly and be on your merry way.

Have questions? Feel free to reach out to me if you need help. You can find me on Facebook and Twitter. That is all for today! Have a good one. Check out what Prius owners are saying in this article. Toyota Prius Owners Are Asking To Have Their Cars Recalled Due To Theft Of Catalytic Converters

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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 is also an Instructor of Automotive Technology at Columbia Basin College. 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.