"A/C Pro": Is it really worth trying?

Discussion in 'General Chevy & GM Tech Questions' started by Big_Mike, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. Big_Mike

    Big_Mike Member 100 Posts

    Here's a question for my fellow members: Is "A/C Pro" worth the money? It's supposed to provide a quick recharge to the a/c system on a vehicle (for those unfamiliar with it). However, I am skeptical about such "quick fixes" or "mechanic in a can" products, just like "A/C Pro" and "Radiator Stop Leak" to name a few examples that are sold at local part stores (Autozone, O'Reilly's, Advance Auto, etc.). I see commercials and advertisements about them, assuring how well they work. However, I also realize that not everything said is reliable. My skepticism may be wrongly and/or pitifully justified, but I would value other opinions on the subject. Thank you.
  2. moogvo

    moogvo Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I am unfamiliar with that particular product, but if it is supposed to fix anything, I would steer clear. It is much cheaper in the long run to fix things right than it is to rig it up.
  3. Skippy

    Skippy Member 2 Years 100 Posts

    I'm familiar with the item. They do exactly what they say. Some of the gauges on the various brands are better than others. The only drawback is if you have an empty system, you don't really know WHY... it's not like AC fluid gets "used up." It's a closed system. Meaning, if you're low, you have a leak somewhere.

    Commonly, they'll say "includes stop leak!" Works fine in some cases, in fact, if the leak is teeny tiny. Most times, you'll spray the stuff into your AC, watch the gauge climb, and then watch the gauge fall as the fluid leaks out from somewhere. It's a great way to pour out $30. LOL

    If you are low on your AC, and you KNOW it's a small leak, sure... it's probably cheaper to do it yourself and put a can in. But it rarely solves the root problem.

    I actually have one in my home garage, but only because I love the little gauge (the one I got was actually pretty high quality). It's easy to toss on a vehicle and say "yep, you're low." or "nope, that's not the problem". I've not ever bought a replacement can. I don't use it that way!

  4. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    I bought a can a few years ago and wasnt satisfied with the performance of it, still had issues but the vehicle I used it on was a clunker that ended up getting parted.
    Like Skippy I did keep the gauge and hose assy since it makes a great pressure tester.
  5. moogvo

    moogvo Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Any time you add or subtract refrigerant to the AC system, you are supposed to evacuate it first. That's the only way you can know how much refrigerant you have in the system. If you have too much, you risk blowing seals. Any time your system has lost all of it's pressure, you have to pull a vacuum on it and hold the vacuum for about 15 minutes before charging the system.

    As far as stop leak additives, stay FAR away from ALL of it, no matter how good it is supposed to be. I have seen people destroy their A/C systems using stop leak. Also, if you put stop leak product in your system and then go to a shop to have your A/C serviced, that crap gets into the machine and contaminates the entire tank of refrigerant. It also screws up the machine they use to service your car and others.

    It costs hundreds of dollars in service fees and replacement refrigerant when the machine at the shop gets screwed up like that. Unfortunately, by the time problems with the machine start to surface, there have potentially been several vehicles hooked to the machine that are now contaminated with Stop Leak.

    Having seen the effects of stop leak products on A/C systems and cooling systems, I can honestly say that I have never felt compelled to use any of it.
  6. Skippy

    Skippy Member 2 Years 100 Posts

    Great information. Thanks!

  7. moogvo

    moogvo Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    That's why I do all of my own AC repairs... You never know what kind of crap is hiding in the machine at the shop!

    my Brother In Law was over here the other day adding cans of refrigerant into his Jeep. He asked if he could borrow my gauges. I said tht I would need to see the cans of refrigerant he added before I would let him borrow them. I looked at the can and there it was "Stops AC System Leaks". Nope. ya can't use my gauges on that! LOL!

    He says "I have to know if I'm still low." I had to explain that you can't tell how much refrigerant is in the system by looking at pressure gauges. You can get normal pressures and be almost a pound high or low! Depends on the vehicle and the ambient temperature. Either way, there is no way to tell if you have the correct amount of refrigerant in there unless you pull it out completely and recharge it from empty.
  8. Skippy

    Skippy Member 2 Years 100 Posts

    Absolutely true, but the fact he's adding cans says he's low for a reason. Adding stop leak and a few cans to be "close" at a total of about $50, and have cold air (even if it ain't perfect), sure beats spending $400.

    Repairs to things like AC are always best handled by those who know what they're doing. (it's why I don't make them, I just check rough pressures with the cheapo gauge... it's easy to tell if there's NO pressure. LOL) But the same could be said for just about anything. Most folks, it's not about "perfect" it's about "good enough." Just ask the kid who was driving around with ZERO brake pad on his front right wheel (eating into the caliper and rotor) and told me "Are you SURE I need a brake job? I can still stop."

    Yeah buddy. Just like you still have money in the bank, because you've got checks in your book. LOL

  9. moogvo

    moogvo Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Well... that all depends... $50.00 worth of stop leak can lead to a $400.00 repair... so best to recharge it with a can of freon that has oil and UV dye mixed in so you can find the leak next time it stops working. It leaks down, shoot a UV light under the hood and it glows like blood stains with Luminol on CSI. (You can also use your nifty $12.00 UV light to see all of the pee splatter on the walls in a public bathroom... You'd be AMAZED at where some people aim when relieving themselves! Just sayin'!)
  10. Skippy

    Skippy Member 2 Years 100 Posts

    Totally agree. I made the statement, because this is how the average consumer looks at things. No stop leak ANYTHING into my vehicles, unless I absolutely am willing to make the tradeoff. For example, I have a commuter 1995 Honda Civic. It's my beater car. I keep it running well, but am not willing to dump a ton of money into it. It's got a leak at the manual transmission seal at the point the shifter comes in. I thought about tearing down the tranny, but decided on Lucas Stop Leak instead. It runs 5w30 oil in the manual transmission. I tossed it in, and bingo, no more leak. No more transmission repair. Yeah, I'll have to keep the stuff in there every 2 years, when I replace the 2 quarts of fluid, but that's cheaper than a teardown. When it finally dies, it goes to the junkyard, anyway.

    Stopgaps for some folks are just that. For those who understand the consequences, they can make a rational decision. For those who don't, they can screw things up in a hurry! (e.g. the fiberglass infused "stopleak" radiator fixes... horrible things, and totally bork with water pumps...) I've seen people pour can after can of engine fix into an engine that didn't need fixing (valve lash adjustment yes, fixing no) and gum things up so badly it required a tear down.

    Your experiences are the same, no doubt. Do it right, do it right the first time. Cut corners if you must, but you'd better darn well know the consequences, and be willing to accept them (or be willing to accept them even if you don't!)

    Which, I believe is where you summed it up best when you said "It Depends." Yep!

    Products that help, but only temporarily, and possibly do more harm than good:
    -Seal swellers (includes "high mileage oil") Sure, it'll swell the seal, but it'll also guarantee you have to keep the sweller in, or failure is imminent.
    -Aerosol Tire Sealant (that stuff is WICKED flammable), gunky... but it'll get you home!
    -Solvents in your fuel (only so much of your "Problem" is due to deposits... too much 'cleaner' can clean parts to death.)
    -Fiberglass radiator stop leak (practically requires a complete teardown to get this crap out of your lines... can slow radiator fluid transfer to the core, and even clog portions of the core... but hey! plugs that leak!)
    -Muffler bandages - Inevitably, the vibration breaks the wrap and putty down. This is not a permanent fix by any means.

    Think of any others?? (Just gave me an idea for a thread...)


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