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Old 08-17-2011, 12:25 PM   #1
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Low refrigerant / freon, dealer says wait for leak to show itself


Long story short, I bought a used car on Saturday, 2009 with less than 16k miles. AC hasn't stayed very cold except at night. During the day it would be cold for 10 sec, then warm for a couple minutes and repeat. Brought it in today, dealer said it was low on freon. They added more and some dye to see where the leak was coming from. I asked if they could check where the leak was coming from today, he said no, it could take months, and for me to bring it back when I have the issue again.

I know that leaks can be very small, pinhole small, but do I have any other option besides waiting? The car is still under warranty, 5 yr/ 60k miles. What could cause this leak?

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Old 08-17-2011, 01:57 PM   #2
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Low refrigerant / freon, dealer says wait for leak to show itself


yeah, driving at night only?

don't it have some bumper to bumper thing, at such a low mileage?

I have seen them using wands detecting freon leaks. You may want to call around and go to an a/c place. Have them fix it and turn bill back at that dealer. They simply gave you runaround.

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Old 08-17-2011, 05:33 PM   #3
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Low refrigerant / freon, dealer says wait for leak to show itself


OH, I do agree with the run-around, and add some BS in there for dessert. An '09 vehicle will have the R-134 refrigerant in it. The unit may have to have some freon with leak detector put in to get the A/C unit running long enough to diagnose. EVERY leak detector that I know if can be detected with a special light almost immediately. You do need to go to a competent A/C repair shop for this. YES, I would go back to the dealer and try to get them to compensate you for the false info and the BS.
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Old 08-17-2011, 06:17 PM   #4
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Low refrigerant / freon, dealer says wait for leak to show itself


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Originally Posted by diymonkey View Post
Long story short, I bought a used car on Saturday, 2009 with less than 16k miles. AC hasn't stayed very cold except at night. During the day it would be cold for 10 sec, then warm for a couple minutes and repeat. Brought it in today, dealer said it was low on freon. They added more and some dye to see where the leak was coming from. I asked if they could check where the leak was coming from today, he said no, it could take months, and for me to bring it back when I have the issue again.

I know that leaks can be very small, pinhole small, but do I have any other option besides waiting? The car is still under warranty, 5 yr/ 60k miles. What could cause this leak?
There's the problem. They're wanting to jack around until the car is no longer under warranty.

You need to find a more honest place to take your car.
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Old 08-17-2011, 06:25 PM   #5
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Low refrigerant / freon, dealer says wait for leak to show itself


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There's the problem. They're wanting to jack around until the car is no longer under warranty.

You need to find a more honest place to take your car.
Update: Picked up the car today and its blowing just fine. It was about 1/2# low on freon.

They are not arguing or saying there isn't a leak, just that it may take time to find it. I talked to several residential/business HVAC guys and they said sometimes it can take days/weeks to find a leak. So it doesn't seem to far fetched that the same could be for a car. The couldn't detect a leak after driving for 48 miles and I can verify they drove for 48 miles based on my odometer reading.
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Old 08-17-2011, 06:42 PM   #6
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Low refrigerant / freon, dealer says wait for leak to show itself


it's all dandy and good for you. keep in mind, several year old car SHOULD NOT RUN LOW ON FREON. you have a problem nesting somewhere. what they did, they made you happy - for now - and let you go, hoping not to see you again, or see you after all warranties expire. THEN they will be HAPPY to see you.
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Old 08-17-2011, 06:49 PM   #7
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Low refrigerant / freon, dealer says wait for leak to show itself


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it's all dandy and good for you. keep in mind, several year old car SHOULD NOT RUN LOW ON FREON. you have a problem nesting somewhere. what they did, they made you happy - for now - and let you go, hoping not to see you again, or see you after all warranties expire. THEN they will be HAPPY to see you.
So how do I "make" them find the leak? I still have 5 years left on the warranty, if its a bad leak it should definitely come back within a year.
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Old 08-18-2011, 12:08 PM   #8
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Low refrigerant / freon, dealer says wait for leak to show itself


depends.

I have no idea what car it is and what kind of dealership you bought it from.

Say, it's a Toyota. Toyota has 36 000 bumper to bumper. You bought from Toyota dealership. You go back to that dealership and talk to customer satisfaction manager. Politely but firmly explain that you have concern that for a 3 yo car, there's a problem that should not be there, and you want it properly diagnosed, not patched with band aid, and repaired. You also want little box handed to you, with parts that were replaced. Or large, does not matter. Also, if they are not capable of diagnosing exact leak - as you already have several members mentioning that they do have out there very precise testers - you will have it diagnosed place else and will turn that bill back at dealership. Would have been superb to have manager consent in writing.

This is basic scenario for any dealership. If customer satisfaction manager does not resolve it to your satisfaction, I'll shoot you Toyota direct email address. Otherwise, you simply write a letter to that car manufacturer, with concise description of what happened, what was done, and who you talked to. Here's the thing. This leak WILL SHOW ITSELF WORSE later down the road. By being a pita now, you'll save yourself much money later.

Now, if you bought a car from a "A1 Best Car Deals in The World" tiny outfit, one of those that are so abundant around, like mushrooms after rain, big chances that are that 1) you have a car that was fixed (not all cars that were wrecked have bad title) and 2) will chose not to stand behind their sale. They make no money doing this, and they do not give a damn.

If I were you, I'd start with figuring out what FACTORY warranties you do still have left. Take it from there, as factory warranties are irrelevant to who you bought car from. Then you go through that make dealership, etc.
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Old 08-19-2011, 07:20 AM   #9
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Low refrigerant / freon, dealer says wait for leak to show itself


Some leaks are not detectable. A leak that is at or below 2-3 oz freon per year is NOT detectable.It is what is termed "below detection limits". And even a bad leak is never detectable if it is in your evaporator and you are looking everywhere else but that . For that, you usually have to remove the dash board! Be happy if with that 1/2 lb freon you do have cold ac. heck, next year, maybe add another 1/2 lb.

Still, too bad a 2009 car is leaking. Shouldnt happen. You could demand they change out the culprit part, although, most leaks are the O rings, not a component.
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Last edited by noquacks; 08-19-2011 at 07:22 AM.
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Old 08-28-2011, 07:12 AM   #10
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Low refrigerant / freon, dealer says wait for leak to show itself


Leaks are detectable if you spend the time to find it, yes even if its a small leak and you put dye in the system it will leach the dye and manifest itself. It sounds like they put the dye in and ran the light around the lines and fittings under the hood thats easily accessible, around the compressor etc. Some leaks, big and small, happen behind the dashboard, and it sounds like they are not wanting to rip the dash out as a warranty repair and are hoping that the leak stays small so you just come in once a year and have a can of R134 added to keep you happy the rest of the summer.
The problem with this is obvious, if there is a leak behind the dash you are breathing the refridgerant. Can you take the car to another dealer for warranty service?
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Old 08-28-2011, 08:42 AM   #11
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Low refrigerant / freon, dealer says wait for leak to show itself


There is one other small detail... most of those refrigerant dyes also have a sealant in them that will plug most minor leaks. In the event that it does not plug the leak, the dye will show you where the leak is. That is why they aren't in a hurry to find the leak. They've ruled out a major leak and they are hoping the sealant/dye will do it's job and plug the leak.
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Old 09-06-2011, 06:42 PM   #12
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Low refrigerant / freon, dealer says wait for leak to show itself


I dunno about breathing the R134a on a slow, hard to detect leak really being a threat- Id worry more about breathing the fumes from the car in front of you at a red light. For that matter, so many other chemicals at higher concentration to worry about if you wanted to........

Dont worry, be happy you have a reaaaaaly slow leak.......
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:42 PM   #13
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Low refrigerant / freon, dealer says wait for leak to show itself


If you feel it getting warm or not removing moisture, just grab a black light and look at every connection, the condenser, compressor and evaporator. The dye will show as a bright yellow.

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