Walter writes: I have a 89k mile 2004 Camry that has had one AC problem after another. The latest is a leak that can’t be found. I have to add Freon every 6 months and no one can detect a leak, but it has to have one. What can I do? It’s getting expensive!
Walter, let me explain little of the problem. Your AC system contains about 24 ounces of a pressurized refrigerant. Because the system is under constant pressure and subjected to extreme vibration and high temperatures, it is not unusual to develop a slow leak. Even if the system only leaks an ounce a week, your system quits cooling in 3 months. Unfortunately, small leaks are usually impossible to locate with a hand held “sniffer,” but there is a solution. Have your service department add fluorescent refrigerant dye to the system. This dye won’t wash off and allows a tech to locate that leak using a UV light and special glasses. I have used it for years and have never failed to locate a leak this way. It is a good idea to ask your service department to add the dye whenever they open the system for any reason. That way it is already there and if, (or when) a leak develops, it is easier to find.