quick-lube A/C service

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Jan 6, 2005
North Alabama
There is a Skill Lube franchise in my area that advertises their A/C services several times a day on the radio. Do you guys think the guys at a quick-lube joint like this would be marginally competent to perform such a service on my wife's '97 Expedition? It still blows cold air, but over the last couple of years it has gotten a little less cold each summer.
Competency really shouldn't be a problem if they have the right tools. FInd out what they use to service the AC. If all they are using is a fancy DIY kit, bypass this place and go somewhere that has the right machine. It is possible to overfill an AC system. If it is overfull, it will be as bad as being low on refrigerant. A good shop will have a machine that can measure the amount of refrigerant it puts into the system.
wavinwayne, for the same $$$, you can buy a kit with a Freon/Oil mix with the low pressure hose adapter built into the can for under $20. I bought an adapter once that screws onto the can and then screw into the low-pressure port. My '96CVLX A/C was not blowing cold as it once did about 4 years ago. I put in an 8 oz can of "A/C System Cold Freeze blah blah" then a year later a half bottle of R134 w/ UV dye in my '96CVLX. Worked great. Most mechanics around here charge $35 + freon charge to do he same.
They also make top off bottles (freon and oil mixed) that don't need any kind of adapter; just fire the engine up with A/C running and plug the can into the low side port. I'd recomend the high mileage top off. Buy a guage too so you know your at the correct charge.
If you see no signs of oil on the AC components, you probably shouldn't use a refrigerant with oil in it. If none has leaked out then putting more in would overcharge with oil. A gradual loss of cooling over a long period is generally a loss of refrigerant. Get a kit with a guage and put a can in yourself. If that doesn't fix it it's time for a pro.
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