Symptoms of Overcharged AC (+ Solutions)

Do you want to know the Symptoms of Overcharged AC? If yes, you are on the right page.

When you just got your AC charged up to get cool on a hot summer day, and the AC cools more than it should, what might have happened is that you overcharged the AC. This can cause various problems.

Some of the signs of an overcharged AC are as follows: vents not producing air, poor cooling, the light of the check engine turning on, and the engine bay making weird noises.

The fixing of an Overcharged AC should be left to professionals in AC mechanics because the AC coolants can be toxic.

How Can an AC Overcharge?

Most air conditioning overcharge problems stem from Do It Yourself refills with bottles of AC freon. Pressure gauges get either inaccurate or non-existent, leading to the system getting overpressured.

It is common to go with the line “better safe than sorry” and add more coolants than necessary, causing it to overcharge.

I recently discovered this issue because it was difficult to believe an air conditioning mechanic could destroy the job. Later, I heard that the AC could be charged at home using cheap coolant cans that can be acquired at local supermarkets or Amazon.

Those who have read other articles I’ve written know I’m all in on spending what should be used on labor costs, equipment and tools, and DIY repairs, but I’ll not recommend charging your AC yourself.

Also Read: Does Car AC Use Gas? (Answered)

What Are the Symptoms of Overcharged AC

Symptoms of Overcharged AC

1. Inefficient Cooling

Poor cooling is a sign that indicates you have overcharged your AC. The AC will stop working because there’s no room for the coolant to depressurize.

Sometimes cool breeze, and that of the temperature of the room, keeps coming out of the vents. Most systems shut themselves down on detecting improper pressure released into the system. Just be grateful if that happens to yours; it might save you from high repair bills.

2. Compressor Noise

Sometimes, the compressor makes excessive noise. This sound is heard when the compressor fights to push liquid coolants through a tiny nozzle designed for a gas molecule.

It’s not in every situation that this happens because AC compressors are designed with a bypass that prevents excessive internal pressure when the pump is strained. An AC compressor that’s struggling, sounds like a steering pump that’s going bad.

3. High-Pressure Readings

Overcharged AC shows higher temperature and pressure readings than normal. The compressor works harder to balance the system, which results in more pressure. And the higher this pressure gets, the temperature gets higher too.

This builds up more pressure and results in cascade failures of the cooling ability.

4. Struggling Engine

AC compressors can draw significant amounts of power from your engine. This occurs more when it tries to push out one coolant gallon through a one-ounce nozzle.

Unfortunately, the excessive draw of power can make the drive belt of the compressor screech and slip, which generally causes a belt failure and loud snap, or the belt hangs on and saps power from the engine.

This case might leave you with a fluctuating or sluggish, low idle acceleration and excessive loss of fuel economy whenever the AC runs.

5. Broken Compressor

This is usually an inevitable result of systems that are chronically overcharged. The heart of your air conditioning system is the compressor, which will eventually respond as a person’s heart would when it gets a chronic HBP.

Valves will stop functioning, pump and internal seals will fail, and the whole system ultimately flatlines.

How to Bleed off an Overcharged AC

Taking your car to a professional mechanic so proper tools can be used to depressurize your system is the only best way to repair an overcharged air conditioning system.

Many mechanics charge for reducing pressure will be the same for filling it again, and this charge is between $100 and $250. That is so only if there were no broken parts in the AC system due to the overcharging.

The compressor cost is around $1,000, but if it equally snapped the serpentine belts, the cost of the damage can go up to thousands of dollars.

Our mission here is to provide you with the best product reviews and guides on DIY to save your money as much as possible.

The best way you can achieve the best results at the cheapest cost is to drive the car to an air conditioning specialist. You can’t possibly do all repairs at home, not minding how skilled one can be.

Also Read: How to Remove Freon From Car Without Recovery Machine

DIY AC Charging – Should You Do It

Even though I’m all in on doing repairs and saving your money, from changing your car filters and oil to swapping out tail lamps or heads. But when it comes to the AC, it is part of the very few systems I’ll strongly advise anyone against working on at home.

Unless you’re sure of whatever it is you’re doing, opening up your engine block will only cause more damage.

I have seen everything on Amazon, starting from ten-dollar cans to hundred dollars air conditioning kits. And I wonder why anyone will try doing a task mechanics do at a relatively cheap cost, themselves.

Just see it this way: if a Freon can cost ten dollars, why don’t mechanics run out of business when they charge a hundred dollars? It is because the mechanic has gauges and compressors worth more and knows exactly the quantity of coolant needed for the car system.

How Often Do I Need to Recharge AC?

The more frequently you use your air conditioner, the sooner it’ll need to be recharged.

As far as there is no leak and you’re living in a moderate climate, your air conditioner can operate on one single charge for about 2-3 years. However, for someone in a hot area that needs AC more often, the AC needs to be recharged annually.

Can Overcharging the AC Cause Overheating?

Many sources say that they can, but I feel they’re not correct. AC is an isolated system with its own compressor, hoses, and radiator. It has no relation to the cooling system of the engine.

Overcharging your AC can only cause overheating in the passenger’s cabin because it fails to deliver cold air enough to lower the temperature. Still, regular ventilation and lowered windows set at moderate-high, can be enough in many circumstances.

An overcharged air conditioner can only cause an engine to overheat, through many failures – the air conditioner gets overcharged and causes compressor, pulley, and clutch failure. For example, the belt could break when the pulley is stuck because the serpentine belt powers the compressor.

In a situation where a serpentine belt also powers the water pump, driving with a serpentine belt that’s broken causes engine overheating because the water pump will not circulate the coolant.

It’s highly unlikely for all these failures to happen in sequence, and this is why I’ll say that an overcharged air conditioner does not cause overheating generally.


Can I Drive With Overcharged AC System?

It’s not recommended to drive like with an overfilled AC system. Using the air conditioner puts the compressor and AC lines at risk of permanent damage.

The damages could cost much more to repair. More than the original value of your car, if your car is an older one.

That is why visiting a mechanic shop to get the work done on your car, is recommended when you’re refilling the system. If you do it at home using unreliable gauges, you risk overfilling the air conditioning system and causing it not to work properly as it’s supposed to.

If you’re not using your AC, you’ll be okay driving with your AC overfilled because your compressor isn’t spinning, so you’ll not have to worry about anything.

Also Read: Car Shakes When AC Is On (Causes & Solutions)

Frequently Asked Questions – Symptoms of Overcharged AC

How do I know if my car AC is overcharged?

When there’s a complete Shutdown, a car’s AC fails to come on or suddenly shuts down, and it could signal that it’s overcharging. The cooling system’s stress is increased by an excessive quantity of coolant, snowballing its tear and wear. Over time, the compressor burns out if the driver wastes time rectifying the problem.

What happens if you overcharge your AC in your car?

It could seem counterintuitive, but excess refrigerant in the AC system can create too much heat and pressure, which can be why your AC blows out hot air. If not addressed, the AC compressor could be damaged by an overcharged air conditioning system in the car.

What are the symptoms of too much refrigerant in car AC?

It could be a serious issue to have excess Freon in the car. Common signs that there’s excess Freon in your car include Foggy windows, A strong smell of chemicals from your AC, and Ice build-ups around the AC vents.

What happens if AC pressure is too high?

High pressure in your condenser fan could cause aluminum distortion and leakage of evaporator coils. In addition, the cost of replacing and repairing a compressor is high ($450, including $700 as labor cost – prices fluctuate too much depending on the car) because the dash may be removed for repairs.

Can you drive with an overcharged AC?

Driving a car with an overcharged AC system puts the compressor under more strain. Over time, the system could damage. 

How do I know if I have too much refrigerant?

Heat Discharge increases – When you notice your AC blasting extremely hot air from the vents, it simply means there’s excess refrigerant in the unit, and extra heat produced by the system. This is because the condensing lines that are overpowered, are overworking the motors.

Conclusion – Symptoms of Overcharged AC

When your AC is overcharged, the only action you should take is to get the pressure fixed by a specialized AC mechanic.

If you’ve read this article to know the risks possibly incurred when one works on the AC at home, here is my advice; we STRONGLY warn against doing so. The risks it’ll involve are marginal when compared to the savings.

Leave the job for a professional mechanic, and you can check out our other guides to be able to see how you will save on easier and safer jobs.

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