If you are someone who likes to work on your car yourself and you know a little bit about cars, you must have come across leak sealants when buying accessories for your car.
Anyone who hasn’t used a leak sealant before will wonder if it really works, because the advertising for these sealants implies that these things are magic and will immediately seal AC leaks and other types of leaks in your car. But the most important factor in all this is the price of the product.
You get a low-cost product that will fix the problems on your car that would cost you dearly if you decided to have it checked and repaired by a mechanic.
This raises the question of the credibility and authenticity of these AC leak seals. Can you really get a product that can save you a lot of money on repairs? Or is it too good to be true and could you do more harm than good by using these AC leak seals in your car?
To find out if these AC leak sealers are worth the money and the risk, let’s take a look at what these things really do and what they are made of.
What are AC leak sealers?
These AC leak sealers are not new on the market. In fact, these products have been widely used in the natural gas industry for many years. These compounds have long been used to seal small leaks in gas pipelines to save time and money for manual repair.
AC leak sealers are either supplied in a single bottle or, sometimes, the package contains two bottles. One of the bottles contains the sealant and the other bottle contains the conditioner. Now most sealers are supplied with a combination of both in a single bottle, so the user no longer needs to tediously mix them manually.
These sealers are a slightly thick liquid substance that reacts with temperature and also with water to form a sealant that looks like epoxy resin. There are also particle-based sealants that work differently from chemical-based sealants.
Does AC Leak Sealer Work?
There are a lot of different opinions when it comes to AC leak sealing. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of the AC leak sealant, so you can ask yourself if it is worth it. In my opinion, it is much better, and in the long run probably cheaper, to repair a leak properly.
The fact about safety depends on where the sealant is used. While the advantages are obvious, these sealants are a cost-effective way to stop small leaks in the refrigerant lines. Note that these sealants are especially beneficial for sealing small leaks and cracks and not large leaks and cracks.
When the sealant reacts with the moisture, it forms a solid substance and this is permanent. So if you have any warranty left on your AC unit, it will certainly be void. In addition, many compressor manufacturers advise against using these sealants because refrigerants contain gases that are intended to be trapped in these AC lines and should not come into contact with other chemicals.
If these sealants are used to fill larger leaks, the leak may be fixed for the time being, but due to the frequent pumping of the refrigerant, which causes temperature changes in the line, the solidified sealant will eventually crack and break off, so you will need to have the line replaced.
After you have read the list and you still think it is worth trying an AC leak sealant, my best recommendation is this one from Amazon: Cliplight Super Seal Total 972KIT
The different types of AC leak sealers
Yes, even with leak sealing there are many different type, and each works differently. In general, there are two types that are common:
- Powder/grain-based sealers
- Chemical-based sealers
The first, the powder or grain type, is a sealant that contains tiny particles inside the compound. This particle-based sealant works by plugging the leak or cavity with its tiny particles and forming a fine sealant. The tiny particles sit together inside your refrigerant line.
This type of sealant works, but the high pressure in the AC lines will not allow the particles to stay inside for long. In addition, these types of AC leak seals are getting older and older, so you will probably find chemical-based AC leak sealants in most cases.
The second type of AC leak sealers, containing a chemical compound, are now more common on the market. They exist under different names and brands, but their purpose is the same. Their purpose is to seal the leak so that the refrigerant does not escape.
Now, these chemical-based seals seem to be safer than the first type, because these seals do not really block the leak, but form a tight layer over it to prevent the gas from escaping.
These chemical-based compounds can be supplied in a single bottle, as we have already discussed, or in two bottles, with the sealant and conditioner in separate containers.
How do these sealants really work?
We will take a closer look at how these AC leak sealers really work. If they are particle or grain-based seals, they simply plug the leak with all the tiny particles that stick to the leak or rupture.
These sealers are useful for sealing leaks in areas that are not under pressure, but since we are talking specifically about AC leaks, this type of seal may not work properly because the AC lines are under pressure. Also, the refrigerant can maintain its liquid form due to the pressure in the lines, but once it reaches room temperature, the liquid is immediately converted to a gas, so particle-based seals do not work well when sealing AC leaks.
However, the situation is different for chemical-based sealants. These are sealants that fill the cracks in the engine cylinders to improve the compression of the mixture. The way they work is similar. When working with alternating current tubes, these sealants react to the temperature change in the tubes.
The sealant is simply poured into the refrigerant pipe. The sealant flows with the refrigerant and also acts as a lubricant. When there is a leak, the temperature changes because when the refrigerant escapes into the atmosphere, it cools down considerably, making the leak extremely cold.
The sealant reacts to this sudden temperature change within the pipe and activates itself by forming an epoxy or chemical weld over the crack or leak. The moisture at the leak actually changes the shape of the joint. This stops the leak.