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Proper maintenance of AC in hot weather?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by berderder, Jul 19, 2020.

  1. berderder

    berderder Junior Member

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    Hi all,

    I’m wondering if there’s a good, comprehensive guide for properly maintaining an AC after heavy use throughout the summer. I drive my 2014 Prius about 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, with 75 - 95 degrees F heat throughout the season. I have the AC consistently cranked at the lowest setting.

    I am pretty much a beginner. I know you can check if the system even has Freon in it by pushing the tab in the engine compartment with a pen. Any other tips? What do those AC refresher kits do?
     
  2. Higgins909

    Higgins909 Member

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    I'd only do that pen trick if something is up with your ac. Otherwise you're just letting Freon out and your ac won't blow as cold. The more time your AC is on, the more wear it will get. I don't know if less wear is added to the AC if you run it on auto instead. I'm guessing those AC refresher kits are for recharging the AC. The Prius has a electric AC and it requires some kind of special non conductive oil with the refrigerant. I cannot find any info on doing it yourself so I am trying to get it looked at by a dealer, assuming I don't have to sell a kidney.

    All I can really say is make sure the ac air filer is clean and no leaves are blocking the fresh air inlet by the wipers, under hood. I park under trees so maybe once a month I clean that out. I check the cabin filter on 5k oil changes. I have found bits of leaves and stems in my cabin filter before. I usually just dump it out by carefully tapping it on the driveway.
     
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  3. Kenny94945

    Kenny94945 Active Member

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    FWIW I wouldn't worry so much about the system...Freon amount, wear & tear etc.
    I have seen many 20 year ac system still functioning well.

    I think you can do 3 things:
    1) Make sure your cabin filter is "fresh" and use a carbon impregnated filter.
    2) If you think it is not blowing cold enough, but a thermometer to insert into a dash vent and check the max cold temperature. I'd say 60 Fahrenheit is a target number, another co-member may be able to supply the exact Toyota temp spec.
    3) 5 minutes before arriving at your destination, turn off the AC but keep the fan on. This is a procedure to reduce moisture building in the evaporator case and reduce mold & mildew odors.

    I am not sure what an AC "refresher" kit is.
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i would just have it serviced every few years. although, i haven't done anything in eight.

    idk of any guides, toyota may mention something in the o/m, not sure.
     
  5. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    There is NO recommended "routine maintenance" for your AC.
     
  6. lech auto air conditionin

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    There’s no Toyota recommended maintenance because they need to make their car looks like maintenance does not cost a lot to keep down the price something they can brag about.

    Completely having your refrigerant removed a.k.a. recovered and recharged by weight is about the only maintenance you can do that should be done. Or the individuals who don’t follow that advice some get lucky and some have to buy a new compressor and many other components at a great cost. Do you feel like gambling.
     
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  7. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    Well you just LOST all of your credibility with me.
    That is just BS.
     
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  8. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    I'd second @Kenny94945's suggestions, #2 in particular.

    Also, regarding the consistent running at lowest temp, that is putting undue stress on the system, knocking your mpg down (further).

    Consider running the system in "AUTO", raising cabin temp setting, try stabilizing around 74~75F.

    And, at least on cooler days, leave AC off, just roll the windows down some?
     
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  9. lech auto air conditionin

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    I’m not gonna mention cabin air filter or clean condenser that was all mentioned before. But is there the one thing that will kill the compressor and that’s either low refrigerant or high refrigerant absolute number one killer in the most expensive thing to replace.
    Ask for a dirty air filter you’re going to suffer with less airflow = less cooling. Unless you live in some farm country where a lot of crops are being cut and there’s a lot of debris in the air on the freeways that clog your condenser or a place with a lot of bugs or a locus plague clogging your condenser. And those people live in that area and they know that’s a common problem don’t need to mention that.
    Just jump in to the root of all evil with air-conditioning. And if somebody doesn’t read the owners manual with the car and never changes their cabin air filter then they deserve not to have AC.
     
  10. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    That’s about 99.9% of us that doesn’t deserve AC then.
     
  11. lech auto air conditionin

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    The decline of our public education system and the reason America fell from the one number one spot to a Third World country. Because people don’t read the owners manual Because people don’t read the owners manual
     
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  12. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    And what does any of that have to do with your ridiculous claim that evacuating the system and putting in "fresh" refrigerant qualifies as a required item for routine maintenance ??

    That's about like saying that you need to suck all the air out of your tires and put in fresh.
     
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  13. berderder

    berderder Junior Member

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    It’s tough. I get heat exhaustion really easily and for instance today we topped out at 98 degrees F. You might not believe I’ve been starting my day at 5:30am to beat the heat. Nonetheless, I still had to run the AC at full blast once that 98 degrees came creeping up. I’m not sure what to do
     
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  14. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    lech is the only a/c expert on this chat. if it is a concern, and it sounds like it is, i would follow his advice.

    but you have to be careful who you have service prius a/c. it is not like regular cars.
     
  15. lech auto air conditionin

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    You just prove my point. I’m without words I have to take a break take a rest I’ll explain later. Excuse me while I go in the other room and yell into a pillow.
     
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  16. lech auto air conditionin

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    I completely sympathize with you my son and I are both like vampires we burst into flames when the sun rays hit us. We literally can tell the UV index on the day by how much pain are face and arms are in from the instant burning sensation of the sun rays. We both sweat like pigs approaching 68°F and anything approaching 50% humidity. And body type and weight size we are both at the opposite ends of the spectrum like Laurel and Hardy. ( my son has a little weight problem). My wife has albino in her family and she has that white skin extremely sensitive of UV rays.

    In our Prius and in her Tesla the first week we got both vehicles immediately got the 3M Crystaline UV sunblock film added to the inside all the glass surrounding in the Each car.

    Since I own and operate two air-conditioning businesses one for automobile and one for commercial HVAC i’m constantly running from 6:30 to 7:30 AM to seven to 7:30 PM I never turn my vehicle off and air-conditioning goes on full blast maximum from morning tonight in the rain and in the fog we live in San Francisco so we have fog.

    If you ever heard of the guy who is in pest control and he’s afraid of cockroaches and mice but yet he took the job of killing them.
    I’m the guy who does air-conditioning but I pass out by noon if I’m left in the sun too long and cannot work anymore so I have to work in the Phog of San Francisco I could never survive in Los Angeles or Arizona I would simply just become another heat stroke for Fatality.

    This is why I know if your vehicle has never been serviced it is way past time. 3 ounces of refrigerant make a huge difference on cooling capability on a hot day.

    One of the only oddball things that can throw a monkey wrench into everything in all math equations and normally occur in failures would get thrown out the window. If the car was ever in an accident in the body shops insurance companies always tell them to save cost use aftermarket condensers that do not perform as well as the DENSO manufactured OEM from Japan.
    The original condenser has more refrigerant cooling passage tubes and more cooling fins per inch given a greater heat dissipation the removal of BTUs from the surface area of the condenser to increase your efficiency.
     
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  17. Aaron F

    Aaron F Junior Member

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    LMAO it's so true though. If the compressor is running and the air is cold there is literally no reason to touch anything with the A/C system (minus cabin air filter)
     
  18. lech auto air conditionin

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    It comes a point where (“somebody doesn’t even know what they don’t even know”). Because it’s cold out the dash it’s not the complete answer I’ll explain later. I’ll give you a hint it has to do with “superheat“

    The engine is running there’s no need to check or change oil

    The engine is running there’s no need it ever check or change coolant

    Battery has 12.6 V The headlight work the car starts the electrolyte level the battery says it has a five year life so you never have to check it or fill it up even if it’s a maintenance free battery LMAO

    This one really gets me all the suckers fall for this one lifetime transmission fluid.
     
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  19. Peter123

    Peter123 Active Member

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    I have to agree that the best way to charge an AC system is to evacuate the Freon and reload the system measuring the charge by weight. System pressure measurements vary based on temperature and humidity. It is easy to get it wrong. There is some leeway in the amount of the charge. You may get lucky doing it by pressure. But, the best way to measure the amount of Freon is by weighing it.
     
  20. AzWxGuy

    AzWxGuy Weather Guy

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    If it were me, I would spring for the professional service call. Something is wrong if the system needs to be run at the lowest setting consistently. Air flow obstruction (cab filter), low or high freon level, even reversed condensor fans have all been problems in previous threads.