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Is there any way for me to 'cheaply' test my air conditioning system for leaks? I am pretty sure that it is leaking (badly), and I'd like to determine where the leak is without having to commit to fixing it. I hate spending money to have someone fix something that I can fix myself.

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g
 

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look around the fittings and condensor for oil, it leaks out with the gas. My dealer put a green dye into the system of my old 94 T+C, it looked like an antifreeze leak.
 

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Does your AC work at all? If it is leaking badly, then you would have no refrigerant left in the system and the AC wouldn't work at all.
 

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I think it depends how bad the leak is and where it is. If it's a slow leak and your losing your charge over a week or so, then it will likely be harder to find-- you may not leak enough oil out to see it. Look the system over carefully with a good light and see if you can see any oil spots.

Pros would use either a u/v dye that they'd put in the system, then find the leak with an ultraviolet light, or they'd use an electronic "sniffer" or "refrigerant leak detector" which can detect leaks by running it along the lines and fittings until it beeps when it detects the refrigerant. Actually the electronic detectors can be had for a lot less than you'd think-- $30-$50 can get one on eBay. That's probably less than the cost of a "diagnosis".
 
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