Refrigerant leaks can be tricky to track down in modern cars since so many components are hard to get to or see clearly. SureTrack community member Lutters had a Prius in their shop that repeatedly lost its A/C refrigerant. They posed the question to the community, and with the help of fellow community member ericsautomotive and others, they were able to resolve the issue.
The following Real Fix summarizes the interaction between them in the community that led to the solution.
2010 Toyota Prius 1.8L
Repeat A/C Refrigerant Loss, Replaced Evaporator
Car came in one month ago for poor air conditioning cooling. Found refrigerant level .8 pound low. No obvious leaks.
Diagnostic Steps Performed/Parts Replaced
Recharged and added dye. Came in today, less than one month later for poor cooling, system down .3 pound. Very hard to see condenser but no dye seen and no sniffer results. Took blower motor out and used sniffer and camera with black light and found no leaks. All A/C lines and compressor are good.
Best Answer from Community Member ericsautomotive
No dye on the outside = No high side leaks….. It’s got to be on the inside!!! There are TSBs on odor and other Evap issues. Did you try sniffing the drain while system is on low speed??
After rechecking a week later, we found traces of dye on the frame section directly below the evaporator drain tube. The only way to see this was with a mirror and black light.
Replaced A/C evaporator and has been good since.
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