Question about 1998 Volkswagen Jetta

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AC comes and goes

I am hoping to diagnose an issue with my 98 Jetta. My AC gets cold SOMETIMES, but it usually doesn't work as it gets hotter outside (like 100 plus). I am not car savy but am hoping to save a few bucks on the diagnosis. I have been told it may need to be recharged? Any comments would be very helpful.

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A recharging kit with a pressure gauge attached joined my complement of seldom used stuff but for <$18 US at the local NAPA store, I figured it was handier than a trip to a local shade-tree mechanic.

The wilting of your AC in higher temps is pretty common; the refrigerant has really small molecules and it is almost impossible to avoid losing some of it over time.

The refrigerant in your car is almost surely R-134A tha has been pretty much standard since the mid-90s but a call to a dealer or AC shop would answer that quickly.

My 2002 Subaru Outback got first a can of refrigerant + lubricant and conditioner in the same package and then a 2nd can of 134 only. (You might want to use the combo mix since your car may have lost a little of the lubricant too over the years.)
That was a little too much and caused the overpressure switch to kick the clutch in and out but letting some of the fill escape through the same valve for recharging put it back in order and I can now again make popsicles while I'm tooling down the road.

The kit comes with instructions on the back - but a little incomplete; they forgot to tell the DIYer to back the valve out again that punctures the can's seal.
It took two minutes to register that nothing was happening and figure out why; the point that broke the can's seal was preventing the contents from escaping.

All-in-all, it's pretty simple - heck I did it ;-)

Posted on Jul 09, 2008

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