AC System

Overcharged AC System – What Happens And What To Do?

Mike Cross
Updated Mar 14, 2023
Overcharged AC System – What Happens And What To Do

In the summer or even on a cool sunny day riding around in your car can get hot. Yes, you can put the windows down, and this helps some, but sometimes the outside air is too hot to do much good, or the noise is too much. That is why most cars have air conditioner units.

Well, what if your AC isn’t working as good as you want it too? You can recharge it, but what if you recharge it too much. Well, this article will look at what happens when you overcharge your air conditioner and what to do about it if it happens.

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

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.

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.

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.


So, now that you know that you can have too much freon in your car’s AC unit and that too much Freon doesn’t make your AC too cold as the only problem. Instead, you know that having too much refrigerant in the system can actually make the air hotter. This is because the system isn’t able to work at the optimal ability that it was designed to work at.

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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