AC System

Overcharged AC System – What Happens And What To Do?

Mike Cross
Updated Feb 22, 2024
Overcharged AC System – What Happens And What To Do

I realized my car's air conditioner wasn't working well a few months ago. After inspection, I noticed my AC was overcharged with freon gas. I knew it could harm my compressor, so I had to find a solution. 

This excessive pressure buildup within your system can cause leaks or component failures. If you are struggling with too much freon in the car, my experience might help you identify the issue. I have compiled some tips to help you recognize this issue and avoid significant complications


Overcharged AC System – What Happens And What To Do
Overcharged AC System – What Happens And What To Do

What happens when AC is Overcharged?

So, what exactly happens when your AC system is overcharged?

Well, the short answer is that your car’s air conditioner might start blowing out hot air.

This is because if you have too much coolant in the system, then the compressor will have to work extra hard to move this coolant. The compressor can only work so hard though, and when it reaches the maximum it can work, it will kick off. This will cause the air being blown out of your car to get hot.

Also, when you have too much refrigerant in the system, it will cause the system to have more pressure, and this can again lead to issues with the compressor. The compressor may start to have liquid refrigerant get inside of it from the strain of the pressure. This will lower the lubrication in the compressor and allow oil to pool up damaging it. Once this starts if you don’t fix it early the compressor will completely break down and have to be replaced or repaired which is expensive.

What to do?

So, if you are noticing your AC not running right, then what should you do?

Well, the first thing you should do is have a mechanic check it out. This is especially true if you just recharged the system yourself. It is easy to overcharge it because the gauges on the home charging cans cannot be the best sometimes. If you notice that your AC is acting funny after a charging you need to get it to look at right away because you don’t want your compressor getting wrecked.

How Do You Identify Too Much Freon In The Car On Your Own?

Try these tips to inspect the overcharged AC. These help you notice the issue so you can take further steps to avoid the risks. 

Insufficient of Cooling

Freon gas is essential for a car's AC system to function correctly. However, if you overcharge your AC, the situation can become dangerous. The most obvious sign of too much freon is the AC's inability to cool the car. Since there is excess freon or refrigerant, the liquid in the system lacks sufficient space to depressurize, which results in a lack of cooling.

When you switch On the AC, only a tiny amount of cool air may emerge, or the air might maintain the same temperature as the surrounding environment. In severe cases, an overcharged AC may emit hot air instead. Moreover, you can also experience inadequate air circulation. 

Specific AC systems are equipped with mechanisms to detect incorrect Freon pressure levels and may cease functioning to prevent potential damage. While this feature may seem inconvenient, it safeguards the system from malfunctioning and ensures longevity. 

Odd Noises

If you've recently serviced your vehicle's AC but are sensing some unusual sounds, recheck your car and system's refrigerant charge.

Overcharging the system can lead to the A/C compressor struggling. This often results in audible gurgling or hissing sounds. If you hear loud noises like sharp banging or other unusual sounds from your AC system, it may indicate too much Freon in the car. 

These noises stem from the compressor. They can signal serious issues that require your attention immediately.

Engine Issues

A car's air conditioner in good condition demands substantial power to operate efficiently. However, the system's power requirement increases when Freon is in the car too much. In such cases, you may hear noises emanating from the drive belt.

Additionally, you may need better acceleration and increased fuel consumption. If turning off the AC resolves these issues, excess Freon could be the underlying cause.

Rough idling

Rough idling refers to the uneven running or shaking of your car's engine when idle. This condition arises from various factors, including excess Freon in the system. However, you need to note that rough idling can also result from other issues, such as a dirty air filter or spark plugs. 

So make sure you rely on something other than this factor and make the decision wisely. If you observe this symptom in your car, just get it inspected by a mechanic to identify the underlying cause. He might tell you better about the system issue. 


When too much freon is in the car, the compressor may generate additional heat. It can contribute to the overall rise in temperature under the hood. An overcharged AC system may lead to inefficient cooling performance, which further causes the engine to work harder. The engine tries to maintain optimal temperatures. 

The increased engine workload and heat generated by the overworking compressor can contribute to overheating issues in the car. If your car's engine temperature exceeds normal levels, it may indicate a Freon leak or too much Freon in the system. 

Overheating poses a risk of engine damage. You need to have a quick inspection done by a mechanic to prevent further complications.

Shuts Down

If liquid refrigerant infiltrates the compressor, potentially mixing with the oil, or if pressure levels become excessive, causing the unit to overwork, your AC system will completely shut down. A complete shutdown could indicate burnout and suggest severe damage to the unit. In cases of AC burnout, you might be unable to repair it again.

You have to replace the entire air conditioner. You must run to the professionals to inspect burnt-out AC units. Mechanics can assess the extent of the damage accurately.

Fuel Consumption

As I mentioned before, when the AC system is overcharged with Freon, it can lead to the compressor working harder to regulate the refrigerant flow and maintain proper pressure levels. This extra workload on the compressor can cause it to draw more power from the engine. 

As a result, you will face more fuel consumption. Therefore, while too much Freon does not directly cause increased fuel consumption, the additional strain placed on the compressor can indirectly contribute to higher fuel usage in the car.

Poor Acceleration

When there is an excess of Freon in a car's AC system, it can have a noticeable impact on the car's performance. One of the most prevalent signs is poor acceleration. If you observe that your vehicle is struggling to accelerate or requires more time than usual to reach higher speeds, it could indicate an overcharged AC system. 

The presence of too much Freon can disrupt the balance within the AC system. It can increase pressure levels and inefficiencies in the compressor's operation. You must address the acceleration issue immediately to prevent complications and ensure a smooth driving experience.

Can you Overcharge your AC?

So, first before getting into what happens when you overcharge your AC and what to do about it we will get into the question of can you really overcharge your AC.

What does overcharge your air conditioner system even mean?

Well, it means that you put too much Freon into the lines in the system. You are probably thinking, but can you really put too much Freon? Won’t a bunch of Freon just make my AC extra cold?

No, overcharging your AC will not just make it too cold. Overcharging your AC is possible and can actually cause warmer air than not enough Freon sometimes. Continue reading to learn exactly why this is the case.

If it is Overcharged

If the AC system is overcharged, then what can you do about it. Well, at home on your own you can’t do a whole lot.

That is because refrigerant is a dangerous chemical and has to be disposed of properly.

Due to this, there are laws about discharging your air conditioner at home. If you want to stay in compliance with the law, then you need a certification to discharge your car AC system. So, if you don’t have this certification, then what can you do? Well, you can take it to a local shop, and they can discharge the air conditioning system for you. This will cost you some money, but it is cheaper than the fines of doing it yourself.

How does the shop discharge the air condition system?

Well, they will use a special machine that creates a vacuum and pulls the Freon from the system. The reason why the machine is safe though is it pumps the refrigerant that it pulls from the system into a closed container and then it can be disposed of properly from there. It can be reused in another vehicle or recycled correctly. This keeps the Freon from getting into the environment.

The way the machine works is that they hook one end up to the low-pressure port and the other hose to the high-pressure port. There is then a gauge which measures how much refrigerant is in the system based on the pressure. After the hoses are connected they turn the machine on and run it till it is reading that there is the proper amount of refrigerant in the system.


After trying all these measures, if you still feel that you cannot identify the issue, get help from professionals. Without proper training, you will complicate the problem instead of resolving it. If you notice any symptoms of overcharged refrigerant, contact a professional technician for inspection. 

DIY air conditioner repairs can pose safety hazards and result in higher professional repair costs if you make even a small mistake. Professional mechanics have the necessary training and tools to assess the refrigerant levels of your AC system accurately.

If you have concerns about the potential overcharging of the A/C system in your car, visit your local panel workshop. Taking immediate action to address the overcharging issue can avoid further loss.

The extra refrigerant puts more wear on the compressor, and this extra work can cause it to overheat which kicks it off. Also, the extra pressure from too much freon in car can cause the compressor to start pooling oil inside of it. This will completely burn out the compressor and cause it to need to be replaced.

This means you need to take an overcharged car's AC unit serious and if you start noticing problems with your AC especially after recharging it, you know what you can do about it. You know that you can’t legally discharge your air conditioner at home because it is against the law since you have to have a special certification to do it. That means you have to take your vehicle to a shop and they can discharge your AC system there for you with a special machine. The machine pumps the extra refrigerant out of the system and stores it in a container for properly disposing of. So next time you charge your AC unit make sure not to overcharge it because it can cause damage to the system and if you do have it fixed as soon as you can to prevent bigger problems from happening.

Mike Cross
Life is too short to drive with stock audio

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7 comments on “Overcharged AC System – What Happens And What To Do?”

  1. When I charged my system using AC Pro I filled the system where the needle is directly in the middle of the full range. Is that too full? The air blows cold but not ice cold.

  2. When i charged my system with AC pro, i used the whole can and the pressure gauge needle was at the end on the green section. Did i overcharge? The egine sounds weird now when AC is on and air is not very cold.

    1. I read most of the directions on the AC Pro can, read the gauge, it was in the white, pulled the trigger and it went into the middle of the green. Had I read all the directions I would have stopped. Unfortunately I continued to pull the trigger as the gauge went lower and lower but stayed in the green. After I looked away for a while the compressor came on and the gauge went into the middle of the red "overcharged" zone. I'm at the shop right now having someone who knows what they're doing put the proper amount in. Wonder how much this "do it yourself and save money" is going to cost. 🙁

    2. I have the same issue and must do what you done, and take it to mechanic if I may do you mind if I ask you how much did it cost? Ty

    3. Sounds like the clutch is going out on your compressor. I would bet that when you are moving it blows a bit colder than sitting still.

  3. The Freon generally does not get disposed of. They filter it clean, then it goes back into another AC system. It only gets disposed of if it is contaminated with the wrong coolant or those leak fix compounds. That is why mechanics say you should not use any leak fix in a can.

  4. This article about overcharged air conditioning was easy to find and a huge help! Gave me all the information I needed to move forward. Thank you!

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