will the compressor engage if the system is completely out of freon?

Don Bella

Asked by May 23, 2014 at 12:53 PM about the 1999 Ford Explorer 4 Dr XL 4WD SUV

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

a/c blows hot air. checked freon tank but there is no cap on it so freon must have all leaked out. The compressor does not engage. Does the compressor not come on if there's no freon as a safety measure?

5 Answers


It will not come on if freon is low or empty.

Best Answer
Don Bella

that was my suspicion. thanks for confirming!


Take it to an ac tech. They can do a vacuum test on your system to find the leak. If leak cannot be found they will re charge the system with freon and dye. If compressor then comes on and works you are good to go. When it does leak down again you will be able to see the dye and repair it yourself before having to have it filled again. If compressor does not come on they will re claim thier freon and charge you little or nothing for doing the check. That is unless you ask them to trouble shoot and fix the problem. My local ac tech only charges $50 for the vacuum check and full freon charge. And he charges nothing if it won't come on.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

With some older vehicles the leak may be so small that it will take months for it to leak down enough that the compressor will not come on.


Freon does not just "come out" unless there is a leak. My '96 explorer a/c is going strong without ever being serviced. I believe my 99 explorer holds a about a pound of freon/refrigerant. Which is one can plus a little. If your system is low on refrig it means there is air in the system, meaning once the leak is fixed, a vacuum must be pulled to remove all air and moisture before injecting fresh refrigerant.

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