Key Takeaways

  • Removing Freon from your car without a machine is illegal and harmful.
  • If you must remove r134a, do so through the low side pressure port.
  • Collect the liquid refrigerant in a container and contact waste management.
  • The correct way to evacuate refrigerants is described in this article.
  • It’s in your best interest to have this process done professionally.

This post may include affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we'll receive a commission at no extra cost to you. This support helps us maintain and grow our site. Thank you for your support!

Charging your vehicle’s AC system can be a pain without an A/C machine. So how do you remove freon from a vehicle without a recovery machine?

Releasing freon into the atmosphere does the same amount of damage as driving a car for three months straight in seconds. It’s in everyone’s best interest to take your car in to have the refrigerant professionally recovered. However, if you must evacuate the system without a machine, keep reading.

I’m a mechanic with five years experience diagnosing and repairing vehicles. I received my associate’s degree in automotive repair and I am ASE certified. I regularly receive training on the most recently released automotive technology. And I repair and diagnose vehicles with the latest tools and software.

Table of Contents

How To Remove Freon From Vehicle Without Recovery Machine

There are many reasons someone would remove a freon from a vehicle. The first thing you want to do is take your safety into consideration. Wear gloves and face protection. Refrigerant is a toxic chemical to both the atmosphere and your flesh. As well, refrigerant can be harmful to your lungs if you breathe it in.

The chemical inside your vehicle’s A/C refrigerant is called R-134a and it’s illegal to dispose of it by letting it evacuate into the air. So you must recover the substance somehow. To evacuate your A/C system you’re going to need some tools.

But if you have to remove the A/C in an emergency situation, despite laws and good sense, here’s what you do. After you get your tools like gloves, safety glasses,a mask or a respirator, find a container to collect the freon.

Then locate the low pressure service port of the vehicle’s air conditioning system. The low side pressure port is usually located close to the air conditioning compressor. Once you have located the low side pressure port you're going to take a screw driver or a valve core tool and turn the valve stem on the low side pressure port.

Rotate the valve stem in the port counterclockwise which will release the pressure in the system. Once the system is drained of all the pressure, disconnect the service hose from the low service port and allow the liquid Freon to drain out of the system.

Hold the container underneath the service port and let the Freon drain into it. Dispose of the Freon properly next. For ideas on how to properly get rid of Freon contact your local waste management department. They should have some guidelines on the best way to dispose of used Freon.

Once everything is drained and hooked back up, recheck the system for leaks. And once everything else checks out you’re safe to recharge your car’s air conditioner.

This is how you would remove Freon from your vehicle without an A/C recovery machine. Doing this way is highly unethical since it can cause a tremendous amount of damage to the ozone. But sometimes it's necessary to do so.

So if you must do so follow the directions above. But if you can, try to take the vehicle to a shop where your car air conditioner can be serviced professionally and the refrigerant can be recovered ethically.

Using A Freon Recovery Machine

While the method mentioned above is illegal there is a legal, more environmentally friendly way. And that way is the right way. To use this way, you’re going to need a couple tools. You need a set of manifold gauges, a vacuum pump, a recovery tank, and a recovery unit.

The first thing for this way is to prepare the recovery tank. Recovery tanks are usually shipped filled with Nitrogen for storage purposes. Nitrogen is safe to release into the air so go ahead and release the Nitrogen into the air.  This will make a hissing noise.

Next, you have to remove air and moisture from the recovery tank. To do this you will need to apply vacuum to the recovery tank. Make sure both valves are closed and then apply the vacuum pump hose to the blue side of the recovery tank.

Turn on the vacuum pump and open up the blue side valve. Let the vacuum pump run for about an hour to make sure all the air and moisture is out of the recovery tank. Then close the recovery tank valve and then shut off the vacuum pump. Make sure the steps are done in that order.

Now we're ready to service the car and the ac compressor. Its time to hook up the manifold gauges to the car’s low side and high side lines.

Now take the yellow hose from the manifold gauges and hook them into the ac recovery machine. There should be a label on the machine that says “In”. Next take a second yellow line and hook it from the recovery tank to the recovery machine.

The label for this port on the machine is labeled “Out” and will be responsible for moving the refrigerant from the A/C system to the recovery tank. Slowly open up the blue side valve on the recovery tank and look for leaks. Open up the outlet valve on the recovery tank and turn the recovery machine on.

Slowly open up the inlet side of the recovery machine and open and listen for a knocking sound. Once you hear the knocking sound from the recovery machine, slowly close the inlet valve on the recovery machine until the knocking stops.

Once the liquid has been removed from the car's air conditioning system, open up the high side pressure line by opening the red valve. And let this run until the gauges and the car ac hit 0. This process will take about 30 minutes to complete.

Once the gauges read 0 close the manifold gauges on the red and blue side. Now close the inlet valve and the outlet valve off before turning off the recovery machine. Now you can close the recovery low pressure valve and start disconnecting all the lines.

As you read you can tell the process to remove freon from car isn’t hard but you do need some special tools. That’s probably why you are searching for answers on how to do so without the recovery machine. This is why it’s best to take the vehicle to a shop in order to evacuate the system.

It’s not in your best interest to purchase a recovery machine to evacuate your ac unit since you won’t need to do it on a consistent basis. It’s in your best interest to take the vehicle to a professional and have a mechanic with a machine do the recovery job for you.

Removing Freon From Your Vehicle Without A Recovery Machine (Step-By-Step)

About The Author

Christopher Sparks

Christopher Sparks

Christopher Sparks has been servicing vehicles since 2012. After completing the automotive studies program at Camden County College, he was awarded an Associates's Degree in Applied Science. His first job was a lube-tech at Jiffy Lube, and is currently an independent B-Technician servicing vehicles for the United States Postal Service. Christopher is ASE certified and loves rebuilding engines.

Read more about Christopher Sparks