How to Flush a Car AC System with Mineral Spirits

Driving around on a hot summer day can be stressful without sufficient air conditioning. If your car’s AC system is not working correctly, you might need to flush it with a cleaning agent.

Luckily, mineral spirits are effective at flushing car AC systems. All you have to do is empty the remaining refrigerant and disconnect a few parts. Then, you can start clearing out contaminants in the condenser and evaporator.

Using mineral spirits is one of the best ways to flush a car’s AC system and restore it to working order. This article will provide step-by-step guidance on how to flush your car’s AC system using spirits.

Why Flush an AC System with Mineral Spirits?

Many things can go wrong with your car’s AC system. One of the most common automotive AC problems is compressor failure. When this happens, small pieces of debris get all over your air conditioning system and cause more havoc.

Performing an AC flush with mineral spirits will eliminate debris from the entire system. This is the best way to fix your AC issues and keep cool during the hottest days. Failure to do this when needed can lead you to have perform expensive repairs.

Flushing with mineral spirits poses some hazards, so make sure to employ proper safety measures.

What Exactly is a Car System Flush?

Debris in your automobile’s AC system can block the compressor from working at optimum efficiency. Even minute particles of dust, dirt, and other objects can diminish the flow of vital refrigerant to the system.

An automotive AC flush is a procedure that becomes necessary as your system gets older. This process cleans your air conditioning system thoroughly, ensuring no contaminants are left to cause damage.

Contaminants can also restrict oil in your AC, which is a big issue for the air compressor. This integral part of the AC system needs oil to maintain movement and keep from failing. 

Oil is carried through the entire system by the refrigerant and comes into contact with the orifice tube, hoses, the condenser, vacuum pump, and other parts.

Cleaning your vehicle’s AC with alcohol, spirits, or another flush agent removes debris and all manner of contamination to keep the refrigerant and oil moving and protect the entire system.

When Should I Flush the AC System with Mineral Spirits?

You should flush your car’s air conditioning system when you notice a significant decrease in efficiency or total failure. You should also perform a flush when changing a major component like the compressor or after significant system alterations.

Some examples of when a car AC needs flushing also include:

· When you open the AC system for any reason.

· The system has been idle for a significant amount of time. This can apply to a car that has sat in your garage for years and is now in use.

Remember that whenever you open your automobile’s air conditioning system, you will not just have to flush but also change the receiver drier or accumulator.

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Steps to Flush your AC System with Mineral Spirits

Undoubtedly, flushing your air conditioning system is the most effective maintenance technique to remove impurities and get it working like new. If this is your first time doing this, you might find the task a bit daunting. 

car ac buttons

Fear not, because we have put together a few simple steps to help you flush your car’s AC system with mineral spirits.

1.      Gather Your Tools

To flush your air conditioning system, you will need an adjustable wrench, mineral spirits, compressed air, and a refrigerant recovery device.

2.      Put on Rubber Gloves, Goggles & Other Safety Equipment

Safety is crucial when working on cars, especially when refrigerant and mineral spirits are concerned. Both of these are hazardous. Refrigerant can freeze body parts, including your eyeballs, and lead to blindness. Mineral spirits are an irritant and can cause dermatitis with skin contact. Put on rubber gloves and goggles before you start.

3.      Empty Remaining Refrigerant

This step requires you to locate the low-pressure service port on your AC system. Connect the refrigerant recovery device to the service port. Run the recovery machine. Once all the refrigerant has been turned to vapor and removed, the removal device should shut off automatically. With this step, it is wise to consult the manual’s guidelines.

4.      Disconnect Parts

You have to disconnect all of the pipes in the way of the components you need to flush. You will use mineral spirits on the condenser and the evaporator, so make sure to take off all pipes or wires blocking your way to them. It is a good idea to take a few pictures before taking anything off for reference later on. Avoid damaging any rubber seals.

5. Flush the Condenser

With all the pipes out of the way, go to the condenser and locate the high-side inlet. This is the hole you are going to pour mineral spirits into. Pour 4oz of the solvent into the condenser. 

Next, introduce compressed air into the high-side inlet to make the mineral spirits work their cleaning magic. If you still notice debris, you can repeat this step. Note that the condenser will always have the most waste. If contamination is too high to be removed, you’ll have to replace this AC part.

6.   Flush the Evaporator

You will follow the same procedure in the previous step to flush the evaporator. Namely, introduce 40z of mineral spirits into the evaporator and flush it out with compressed air.

7.     Reassemble 

Carefully put everything back together that you took apart earlier. Take a good look at the pics you took earlier to ensure that you put every part back precisely where it should be.

8.      Recharge Refrigerant

Refill your air conditioning system with refrigerant. Turn the AC on to check whether the refrigerant can perform and gauge the R-12 system’s cooling performance. 

Conclusion – Flushing Your Car’s AC with Mineral Spirits

A failing car AC system can be very frustrating and ruin your day. Most likely, your air conditioning system is clogged up with debris that can be overcome by flushing with mineral spirits.

You can flush out your AC system with the DIY process we discussed in this article and get it working again—all while saving money.