How to Refill the Freon in a 2001 Cavalier

The air conditioning system in a 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier is charged with R-134a refrigerant. When the refrigerant level falls too low, the system cannot adequately cool air inside the vehicle. Common causes for low refrigerant are leaking seals, a worn A/C compressor, or damage to the A/C condenser. A low refrigerant level doesn’t always mean that there is a leak. As time passes, refrigerant is gradually used by the system and needs to be replenished. R-134a refrigerant is available from most auto parts stores as well as many home improvement and hardware stores.


R-134a refrigerant canister
A/C recharge hose
A/C pressure gauge


1. Drive the vehicle until it comes up to operating temperature. Shift the transmission into park or neutral (manual transmission) and apply the parking brake. Turn on the A/C system and set the fan speed to its highest setting.

2. Open the hood and locate the A/C low pressure port. It is marked with a blue plastic cap, and is located on top of the large-diameter aluminum A/C line that runs from the firewall to the condenser, on the left side of the engine.

3. Remove the dust cap covering the low pressure port. Attach an A/C recharge hose to the low-pressure port. Screw the other end of the A/C recharge hose onto the R-134a canister. Tighten down the piercing screw on the canister-end of the recharge hose in order to break the seal on the R-134a canister. Loosen the piercing screw to allow refrigerant to flow out of the canister and into the system. Turn the canister upside down and rotate back and forth from a 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock position while the refrigerant flows out.

4. Disconnect the A/C recharge hose from the low pressure port once the canister is empty. Unscrew the empty canister and discard it. Attach a pressure gauge to the low pressure port and note the reading on the gauge. When the system is full, the gauge should read 25 to 45 psi. If the reading is below this specification, repeat Step three and take another reading.

5. Replace the dust cap once the system is fully-charged. Confirm that cool air is flowing from the vents inside the vehicle. Close the hood and turn off the engine.


An A/C recharge hose is a special type of hose that connects to the A/C fittings on the vehicle and also on the refrigerant canister. The basic hoses are available from most auto parts stores for less than $20. A/C pressure gauges are also available from local auto parts stores for under $20.

2001 Chevrolet Cavaliers were equipped with either a 2.2 or 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine. Regardless of the engine configuration, this procedure is the same and the low-pressure port is in the same location.

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Filed in: Automotive

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