The time will come, regardless of the age of the vehicle that the air-conditioning is no longer as cold as you would like it – or as cold as it used to be. To fix this, you may be looking at any cost between a few hundred dollars to many thousands. This is where some background knowledge and good advice can save a great deal of money as well as get the result you want.
The first consideration is the electrics, meaning does the compressor turn on when the controls are switched on? Is air coming from the vents, even if it is not as cold as you want? You should be able to hear the clutch of the compressor engage and feel air at the vents. Assuming you can, this will not be the cause of the problem.
Far more likely is a leak, or more than one leak in a hose or a seal. They operate under high pressure and heat so deterioration over time is inevitable. A repairer will put dye into the system and under UV light will determine where the leak occurs. If a compressor seal is defective, it can be repaired but it may be far less costly to obtain a good used replacement from a compatible wreck. “Compatible” is the key here because not all compressors will suit your vehicle. However, perhaps the end section can be taken from yours and fitted to the replacement , overcoming the greater cost of pulling yours apart, replacing seals and probably bearings too. Contact Craig at Graeme Cooper Automotive – he may have or can get a good used unit.
A new dryer is essential. Also, it will not be worth attempting to repair defective hoses. Although new ones and fittings custom made to suit your vehicle are fairly expensive, it is the only way to repair a system effectively. A decision will have to be made whether to replace ALL hoses including the ones under the dashboard or just those within the engine bay (the ones copping the heat from the engine). Removing the dash will add several hours of labour and it is possible the leaks may be in the easier -to-access sections. It will be a judgement call.
Graeme Cooper Automotive are experts in diagnosis and repair and can save many hours of frustration and probably cost too.