2002 Protege AC not cooling


Asked by Hrichard Aug 28, 2022 at 11:18 AM about the 2002 Mazda Protege LX

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Just bought 02 protégé 4 - 2.0. AC light
comes on, fan blows on all speeds but no
cold air. Compressor DOES come on.  Fuses
both inside car & under hood both good.

I added 1 can of R134 freon thru L port but
the gauge on the hose never moved. I thought
even if gauge was defective (bought new) the
AC would still have SOME freon in it and
would cool just a bit even if have major leak. It
didn’t cool any. The metal hoses DID frost
over when I added that 1st can of freon and
the can hit freezing cold so I knew freon
coming out if can into hoses.   I waited about
2 days then added another can of freon and
hoses frosted over again but still no cold air
coming out. Just the ambient temp from
outside. The HEATER works great on all fan
speeds and blows hot air like it should.

The Mazda dealer says they can flush system
and recharge for close to $200 but that’s just
going to tell me 1) if it has right amount of
freon in it and if there’s a leak ( which I already
assume there is?) but may not fix my problem.

Could it be a bad compressor even though it’s
coming on?  So, experts, need your thoughts
please.  Thank y’all!!

3 Answers


On a 20 year old vehicle you could be looking at an air conditioner that hasn't worked for a decade, or more! In my opinion the "flush and recharge" from the Dealer is just a money grab! The fact that the compressor is coming on tells us there's something in the system, probably air, that is turning the low pressure switch on to turn on the compressor. That's not good. Air has moisture in it so you can assume the accumulator or receiver dryer is saturated. What you need to do is have a shop pull down the system into a vacuum and see if it holds the vacuum. My guess is it will not. The next thing to do is charge the system with an ultraviolet die that will tell the shop where the system is leaking. Once the leak is found it will need to be repaired, the accumulator or receiver dryer and the expansion valve (if equipped) will have to be replaced before the final recharge. You're probably looking at $500 or more to fix it correctly! Hope that helps! Jim

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