Mechanic says you shouldn't buy air conditioning car kits

@royaltyautoservice/TikTok Jintana/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘Those little cans and gauges got me through some hot summers!’: Mechanic says you shouldn’t buy air conditioning car kits. It backfires

'There are certain things that aren't DIY friendly.'


Stacy Fernandez


Posted on May 7, 2024   Updated on May 6, 2024, 7:04 pm CDT

In a viral video, a popular mechanic warns that when it comes to your car air conditioning, you shouldn’t try a DIY solution. It may leave you worse off and cost more to repair, he says.

Royalty Auto Service has gained a loyal following on TikTok for their straightforward and honest insights on all things cars, including what used cars they recommend in the $10,000 and under range, online car buying scams to look out for, and car horror stories (including this one whose brakes caught on fire).

In a recent video, Sherwood, who owns the repair shop, urges people not to mess with their car’s AC unit.

Now, when you look up “how to repair car AC yourself” there are plenty of articles, videos, and walkthroughs showing you possible DIY fixes that will cost you a fraction of the price of taking it into your local shop.

A common solution found online suggests that if car owners don’t find any leaks, they should just add some refrigerant and be set. You can buy a refrigerant kit for $12-$60 versus $240 to $280 to get the service done at a repair shop.

But this is one DIY you shouldn’t do, Sherwood says.

“I don’t have any problem with DIY… But there are certain things that aren’t DIY friendly, and air conditioning systems are one of them,” he explains.

While you can buy one of the aforementioned kits, it won’t fully address the issue. That’s because the only way to put in the proper refrigerant levels is with a machine that can fully dump out what’s currently in the car and fill it back up with the precise amount needed.

“When you’re doing that with a can, there’s just no way to do it right,” Sherwood says.

Plus, the refrigerant might not even be the issue, but you wouldn’t know that without the machine checking the levels.

Sherwood adds that on top of that refrigerant blends are now being sold in stores, which can complicate things once cars are taken into a shop. He just got a car with a blend and he’s not sure how he’s going to be able to help the customer. He can’t use his usual machine to get it all out since the blend will contaminate the entire bottle in the machine. The customer will have to find someone willing to extract the liquid and then figure out how to legally dump it.

“I don’t know what he’s gonna do,” Sherwood says. “And sadly, what could have been something very simple … now it’s turned into something that’s just gonna be very, very difficult for him to take care of.”

And the mechanic insisted that he’s not just trying to get people to spend more money at car shops, he just wants to make sure they don’t make the repair process more costly and tedious for themselves in the long run.

@royaltyautoservice Dont cost yourself more money messing with it yourself! #mechaniclife #mechanicsoftiktok #automotive #technician #cartok #diy #car #hot #cartips #tips #honda #toyota #bmw #vw #viral #fyp #foryou ♬ Pop beat BGM / long version(1283324) – nightbird_bgm

The video has more than 870 comments, and viewers had mixed reactions.

“Those little cans and gauges got me through some hot summers!” a top comment read.

“Customer just going to vent it out himself and bring it back,” a person speculated.

“And customer discredit how important pulling a vacuum on the A/C system to prepare it for the oil and refrigerant. Moisture is the enemy of the AC system,” another said.

“My Ac actually stopped working because I over filled the refrigerant, I went yrs without AC until someone figured it out,” a commenter wrote.

The Daily Dot reached out to Sherwood for comment via email.

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*First Published: May 7, 2024, 4:00 am CDT