1991 Honda Accord A/C Has a Freon Leak The Mechanic Can’t Find

Reader Question

Hi Austin,

I have a 1991 Honda Accord which I have for almost 2 years now. during the start of summer here in Atlanta, my A/C is not working. a local shop said that my condenser was damaged, since i don’t have money to pay him the labor, i bought a new condenser and drier and replaced them myself. the local shop converted my system to R134 and put some dye to detect leaks. so my A/C is blowing cold air again, well just for about 9 days…

Well, it’s not all of a sudden that it blows warm air, day after day, the cold air has gradually became warmer until the 9th day that it’s really warm. the local shop checked the traces of dye but he could not find it. there’s still some freon that can be seen in the drier site glass.

Maybe on the 7th or 8th day, TWICE i noticed a white smoke/fog coming from the center vent when the A/C is set to 1st or 2nd level but no smoke is visible when it is set to max level. the smoke last for about 5 mins even the outside temp is like 75. do you have any idea what could the problem be? or where to look at?

Thanks. I appreciate your help

Hey there

I would suspect you have a Freon leak, and my first guess would be a leak in the a/c evaporator, which is inside the dashboard behind the glove box. You really need to have your mechanic test for a leak there with a Freon “sniffer” type leak detector, as you really cant see the evaporator much less any dye leaking out of it.

Of course the first thing you should do is make sure the system is fully charged with Freon, then test for leaks with the leak detector. If you can see small bubbles in the drier sight glass, you are not fully charged with Freon. If you do find the evaporator leaking, you should replace the expansion valve (attached to the evaporator) as well.


Austin C. Davis

Reader Update Thanks Austin, if there is a leak in the evaporator, is the solution really replacement? or it can be fixed

Hello again

Replacement is really the only viable solution. The evaporator is made of aluminum, so you really can’t weld on it. They do make a few additives you can put in the system, but I have tried them all and have not seen any of them work. You can get this part from your local auto part store, so you don’t have to go to the dealership.

This job is a little difficult to do, so you might want to ask your mechanic (probably another one, not the one who misdiagnosed it unless you can get them to discount their labor because they made a misdiagnosis on the condenser) to quote you labor prices and you provide the parts.


Austin C. Davis

Posted in: A/C and Heating

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