Evacuating a car’s air-conditioning system with a vacuum pump is a crucial part of its overall maintenance program. Doing so ensures that impurities like dirt and debris are removed from the system, allowing it to function optimally. Still, the lack of a pump shouldn’t stop you from doing it, as you can evacuate a car AC without a pump.
You can evacuate a car AC without a pump using access valves instead. The process involves depressing the high-pressure side of the system and then charging the low-pressure side. Performing that procedure twice ensures that the system is evacuated before you recharge it with refrigerant and resume regular use.
In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know to evacuate your car’s AC system without a vacuum pump. Firstly, you’ll discover the role vacuum pumps play in the process, and then you’ll go through a step-by-step process to replicate that without using a pump.
Why Is A Pump Used To Evacuate A Car Air-Conditioner?
Occasionally evacuating your car’s air-conditioning system is crucial to maximize its performance and lengthen its lifespan.
That process involves ‘vacuuming’ the sealed air-conditioning system. That’s done by creating a vacuum inside the system’s lines to extract impurities like dirt and debris.
Typically, that vacuuming process is done with the help of a vacuum pump. The pump makes everything much more convenient by creating a plug-and-play setup to get the job done.
However, there are some situations where a vacuum pump is not available.
Thankfully, evacuating your car AC without a pump is still possible and pretty straightforward, following the steps detailed in the following section.
How Do You Evacuate A Car AC Without A Pump?
The lack of a vacuum pump doesn’t have to be an excuse not to evacuate your car’s air conditioning system. You can still get the job done effectively with the proper knowledge and approach.
Firstly, you can begin by parking your car on a level surface. But, more importantly, you should only perform this task in a well-ventilated area just in case of any issues like leaks in the sealed refrigerant system.
Once ready, connect access valves to the system’s low- and high-pressure sides. Then, follow these 5 steps to evacuate your car AC without a vacuum pump:
Step 1: Depress The High-Pressure Side Access Valve
This process begins with you turning the compressor to pressurize the entire system. Then, after a few moments, depress the high-pressure side access valve while keeping a close eye on the pressure levels on the low side.
You’re looking for the high-pressure side to depress to its lowest possible level. Once that happens, shut that valve and turn off the compressor.
You’ll know that you’ve performed this step correctly when the high-pressure side drops to its lowest pressure possible.
Step 2: Charge The Low-Pressure Side
The next step is to charge the low-pressure side of the air-conditioning system to a target of 14 psi.
Once you do that, you’ll have to wait at least 5 minutes. Throughout that time, monitor the pressure levels on both sides of the system to ensure they balance out and become equal.
Step 3: Depress The High-Pressure Side Access Valve
You’ll repeat Step 1 but with a slight difference in this step.
You’ll have to depress the high-pressure side access valve one more time. Then, turn the compressor on and depress the valve as you did earlier.
Here’s the difference: this time, monitor the pressure levels on the low side of the air-conditioning system. Those pressure levels go down to the lowest level possible when done correctly.
Once that happens, you can shut the high-pressure side access valve close.
Essentially, you’ve witnessed gas moving from one side of the air-conditioning system into the vacuum.
Step 4: Repeat Steps 2 And 3
Next, you will repeat Steps 2 and 3 one more time. That means you’ll:
- Charge the low-pressure side to 14 psi
- Wait for 5 minutes to ensure the pressure balances between both sides
- Turn on the compressor to depress the high-pressure access valve again
Here’s the critical thing to look out for: when the pressure on the low side goes down again, it should not go as low as what you saw in Step 3.
That’s because the refrigerant in the compressor oil will absorb and release gradually, affecting the minimum pressure level on the low side.
Step 5: Charge The System With Refrigerant
The final step is to charge the entire system with refrigerant. Finally, the vacuuming process is complete, and you’re filling the system with enough refrigerant to function correctly.
Once complete, you can run the air conditioning system to ensure that it’s cooling your car down as it should.
Read: Why Car Backfires?
Why Must You Maintain Your Car’s AC System Regularly?
Regardless of whether or not you have a vacuum pump, you must ensure that you evacuate your car’s AC system at least once a year. As you’ve read above, the absence of a pump is not an excuse to avoid performing this critical maintenance task.
Evacuating the air-conditioning system is just one crucial task among many others that you must do to keep your car AC healthy. They include:
- Cleaning the condenser
- Cleaning or replacing the air filter
- Checking for refrigerant leaks
- Charging the system with enough refrigerant
- But of course, only after evacuating the system to remove impurities inside
As you can see, evacuating your AC with or without a pump must occur together with a handful of other tasks.
When you do that regularly, you’ll enjoy a wide range of benefits that include the following:
- Maximizing air quality: Maintaining your car’s AC system ensures that you and your passengers will enjoy the best air quality available inside your cabin.
- Maximizing cooling capacity: Just as important, your AC system will have no problems cooling the air and keeping all occupants comfortable. Evacuating the system helps this directly by removing impurities and allowing refrigerant to flow freely throughout the system.
- Preventing expensive repairs: When you evacuate and maintain the AC system regularly, you’ll avoid severe clogs from occurring. That will also ensure you won’t have to pay for expensive repairs or parts replacements if any components suffer damage or fail entirely.
- Maintaining your car’s overall value: The air-conditioning system is one of many crucial systems in your vehicle. This one relates to the comfort of the driver and the passengers and is a critical factor for maintaining the car’s value. In addition, regular AC evacuation and maintenance ensure that you’ll fetch a better price if you try to sell the vehicle later.
It’s not that difficult to see that maintaining your car’s air-conditioning system is just as crucial as any other. However, while a vacuum pump can help you do that easier, it’s also possible to evacuate the system without a pump.
As you can see, working with your car’s air-conditioning system involves working with refrigerants. Unfortunately, that refrigerant can harm the environment if it’s accidentally released into the air.
So, while you can evacuate a car AC without a pump and by yourself, it’s always best to approach the task carefully.
Suppose, for any reason, you’re not confident about doing it yourself. In that case, there’s no shame in hiring an automotive technician to do it for you.