NeelSanghi.com Mini OS
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Mini How to do stuff(s) by Neel K. SanghiHere you will find instructions on how to do stuff like fix your car's A/C, and other stuff.
Car A/C systems are actually really simple to repair. In most basic systems you have only a few basic components: compressor, refridgerant, receiver/dryer, accumulator, expansion valve or orfice tube, codenser and evaporator.
You have two accepted refridgerants R12, and R134a for automotive A/C's in the US. This isn't to say that just about any compressed gas wouldn't work, because most any would. Some may be more hazardous and less effecient. Perhaps even the molecular size of the substitute gas may be too small to be retained by the walls of the A/C hoses designed for the original refridgerant.
Anyway, you basically check your compressor to see if engages. If yes, then find the leak through using UV dye oil/refridgerant. This will leak out anywhere there is a leak in the A/C and you can then see them with a UV light (ideally). If the/a leak is in the evaporator core than it will be invisible.