If you’re someone who’s had to work on their vehicle in the past and the AC is something that you’ve tried to repair, then you must have come across leak sealants. If you’ve come across a leak sealant before, you may be cautious of buying it because you’re unaware if it really works or not. These sealants are advertised to seal AC leaks and they can sound too good to be true. It’s a draw in because it’s a lot cheaper to buy a leak sealant to fix a leak in your AC, than to go to the mechanic and get the AC repaired for leaks – any normal person would go for the cheaper option.
Since there’s clearly a cheaper option, you may be wondering if the AC leak sealants work in the first place. Can you really stop a leak with a product that cost a couple of dollars rather than potentially spending 100s at the mechanic? If you want to find out if spending money on the AC leak sealant is worth it, you can look at the arguments down below.
What is an AC Leak Sealant?
There are AC leak sealants on the market, and they’re advertised to stop leaks. These products have been in the auto industry for years and they have been used to stop small leaks in gas pipes to prevent getting a professional in which would cost more. Leak sealants are stored up in a bottle and they can sometimes come in two bottles. One bottle contains the leak sealant while the other bottle contains the conditioner. In most cases, the conditioner will be contained in the same bottle as the seal so they both don’t have to be mixed from the individual bottle.
The sealers have a thick consistency that reacts with the temperature of the air surrounding along with water to form a seal that similar to something like epoxy. There are also different types of seals. Some are particle-based while other are chemical-based sealants and they can have their individual benefits.
Do AC Leak Sealants Work?
The all-important question, do AC leak sealants work? There are a lot of things you’ll need to know when it comes to leaking sealants and they can have their advantages and disadvantages. If you really want to maintain your vehicle and keep the AC as long-lasting as possible, you should repair your AC properly at the mechanic or yourself rather than using a quick fix such as a sealant.
It’s also safer to get your vehicle repaired rather than to use a sealant. The safety part depends on where you use the sealant. The seals are a cheap way to stop leaks in the refrigerant lines and they are only beneficial to small leaks and cracks and not large leaks. This is because the pressure and size of a bigger leaks are too powerful to be covered up by a sealant. You can only use the sealant to cover up small cranks and stop small leaks.
The sealant works by reacting with the temperature of the air and it forms a solid substance that will help to cover up the leak. Make sure that you take your vehicle to the mechanic if it has a warranty because if not, then using a sealant will make the warranty void and you’ll no longer be able to get cheaper repairs when things get damaged. If you’ve looked in your owner’s manual, you may have also been advised to not use seals because the AC has gases that are meant to be in the AC leans and should be mixed with anything else such as the chemicals in the sealants.
Since you should be using sealants to cover up big leaks, you may be wondering what you should be doing if you have a leak that’s bigger than normal. Due to the refrigerant that’s constantly being pumped, the solid sealant will eventually crack off due to the pressure and it’s not strong enough to withstand – this can also cause temperature changes to the line. If you want to make sure that you have a sealant that’s strong and reliable enough to cover up your small leak, you should RectorSeal (View on Amazon). If you need your refrigerant topped up if you’re running out and you know how to replace it, then you should use an AC refrigerant kit (View on Amazon).
Using a sealant to fix the leak in the AC line will allow you to save a lot of money rather than heading to the dealership just to get it fixed. It can also help you prevent future leaks and they can be effective in covering up minor leaks.
The bad thing about using seals to cover up leaks is that they can clog the expansion valve and the AC condenser or evaporator while disturbing the flow and pressure in the system. They can’t be used to fix large leaks and using a sealant is more of a temporary fix rather than a permanent one due to the amount of pressure in the AC system – it’s very easy for the sealant to crack off. Using a seal is also likely to reduce the efficiency of the AC if it’s not flushed after – this means that your AC may not be as cool as it usually is. If there is an AC leak, then chances are you’ve lost a lot of refrigerant and you’ll need to get a recharge at the workshop.
Different Types of AC Leaks
There are a few types of AC leak sealants you can get and each one of them works on the AC leaks differently.
Power/grain Seals – the first type of sealant is the power/grain sealer and it’s a sealer that contains loads of tiny particles that are grain-like. This sealant works buy filling the hole that’s causing the leaks with the tiny grains to form a good seal. The tiny parts stay compact on the crack to make sure that the liquid isn’t forced through. The power/grain sealant is a good sealant but due to the high pressure inside the AC lines, they won’t last long, and the seal will eventually start to wear down as it gets older.
Chemical-based sealer – the next type of leak sealer you’ll find is the chemical compound. This is the more common type of sealant that you’ll find, and it has other names depending on the brand you’re buying it off. The chemical-based sealer is meant to cover the seal by reacting with the temperature in the air and waiter to make sure that the seal is properly closed, and the refrigerant doesn’t escape.
The chemical sealants are more reliable and much safer than the first type of sealant mentioned. The chemical sealants forms a layer over the crack meaning that it doesn’t block the leak, it just forms a barrier that stops it from coming out.
How Do Seals Work
Power/grain seals – As mentioned earlier, you may still be wondering how the sealants work to make sure that the refrigerant doesn’t come out of the AC any time soon. You may be wondering how each type of the sealants work to form a proper seal over the cracks. The sealants that have been mentioned are only useful when it comes to covering up small cracks and leaks that are under much pressure. These sealants won’t work well will pressured lines. The refrigerant can stay in the line and it’ll remain in liquid form and at the right temperature but once the refrigerant reaches room temperature, it’ll be converted into a gas and this can easily be forced through the seals.
Chemical Seals – this problem doesn’t happen with chemical seals because this type of sealant reacts with the temperature changes in the tube so if the refrigerant gets to room temperature and turns into a gas, it can’t be forced through the seal. When trying to fix a leak, the sealant is poured directly onto the crack and when the temperature of the refrigerant drops, it gets really cold and the sealant can react to the change. It changes forming an epoxy like a seal over the crack that’s causing the refrigerant to leak.
How to Fix AC Leaks
AC leaks aren’t something you should ever experience as a driver so if you do experience on, it’s a sign that you haven’t been taking care of your AC and maintaining it with the rest of your vehicle. Maintenance is a very important part and it stops parts and systems in your vehicle from going bad. If you want to make sure that something like this doesn’t happen again, then it’s important that you maintain your vehicle often as it can save you a lot of money in the long run.
If you want to avoid AC problems or other issues and save $100s of dollars that you’ll spend at the auto repair shop, you’ll need to service your vehicle often – you can use our mechanic-rated Auto Maintenance and Repair Manual to do this. It’s basically what mechanics use to go through your vehicle to check if there are any problems that need fixing. As soon as they notice the most minor problem, they’ll ask you to fork out some money even though it’s a problem you can fix yourself in minutes – the manual will teach you how to maintain your vehicle every few thousand miles and it’ll teach you how to fix minor problems that mechanics will ask you to pay for; saving you money in the long run.
A lot of our readers have the Auto Maintenance and Repair Manual printed on their garage wall and 92% of them haven’t visited the auto repair shop in the last year because they know what to do to avoid problems. All it takes is giving your vehicle a little attention every few thousand miles and you’ll never spend money at the workshop again.
AC Leak Sealers Can Affect Cooling Performance
It’s important that you know the AC sealers can affect the efficiency of the AC. Since the seals help to stop small leaks in the condenser or the evaporator, this means that the AC system is being improved. Since there are no leaks, this should mean a better performance, right? Because the sealer isn’t refrigerant and it doesn’t have the same properties, it doesn’t give a cooling effect as it travels down the valve or tube. If you remove the system and add a leak seal and refrigerant, you could end up reducing the cooling efficiency of the AC BY 7%.