Honda CRV/Odyssey 1995-2000 Repair Information

Air Conditioning System



It is recommended that the A/C system be serviced by an EPA Section 609 certified automotive technician utilizing a refrigerant recovery/recycling machine.

The hands-on enthusiast should not service their vehicle's A/C system, unless certified, for many reasons, including legal concerns, personal injury, environmental damages and cost. Unless certified, the following are some of the reasons to consider why not to service a vehicle's A/C system.

According to the U.S. Clean Air Act, it is a federal crime to service or repair (involving the refrigerant) a Motor Vehicle Air Conditioning (MVAC) system for money without being EPA certified. It is also illegal to vent R-134a refrigerant into the atmosphere.

State and/or local laws may be stricter than the federal regulations. Check with the state and/or local authorities for further information. For further federal information on the legality of servicing an A/C system, call the EPA Stratospheric Ozone Hotline.

Federal law dictates that a fine of up to $25,000 may be levied on anyone convicted of venting refrigerant into the atmosphere. Additionally, the EPA may pay up to $10,000 for information or services leading to a criminal conviction for anyone found in violation of these laws.

When servicing an A/C system, there exists the risk of handling or coming in contact with refrigerant, which may result in skin or eye irritation, or frostbite. Although low in toxicity (due to chemical stability), inhalation of concentrated refrigerant fumes is dangerous and can result in death; cases of fatal cardiac arrhythmia have been reported in people accidentally subjected to high levels of refrigerant. Some early symptoms include loss of concentration and drowsiness.

In addition, refrigerants can decompose at high temperatures (near gas heaters or open flame), that may result in hydrofluoric acid, hydrochloric acid and phosgene (a fatal nerve gas).

R-134a refrigerant is a greenhouse gas which, if allowed to vent into the atmosphere, will contribute to global warming (the Greenhouse Effect).

It is usually more economically feasible to have a certified MVAC automotive technician perform A/C system service to a vehicle. Because it is illegal to service an A/C system without being certified and without using the proper equipment, the average hands-on enthusiast would have to purchase an expensive refrigerant recovery/recycling machine to service their own vehicle.


Although the A/C system should not be serviced by anyone who is not certified in automotive A/C repair and servicing, the preventive maintenance can be practiced by a hands-on enthusiast. Several A/C system inspections can be performed to help maintain the efficiency of the vehicle's A/C system. For preventive maintenance, perform the following:

The easiest and most important preventive maintenance for an A/C system is to be sure that it is used on a regular basis. Running the system for five minutes each month (no matter what the season) will help ensure that the seals and all internal components remain lubricated.

Some newer vehicles automatically operate the A/C system compressor whenever the windshield defroster is activated. When running, the compressor lubricates the A/C system components; therefore, on these systems, the A/C system would not need to be operated on a monthly basis.

In order to prevent heater core freeze-up during A/C operation, it is necessary to maintain a proper antifreeze protection. Use a hand-held coolant tester (hydrometer) to periodically check the condition of the antifreeze in your engine's cooling system.

Antifreeze should be checked and replaced according the maintenance recommendations, and should not be used longer than the manufacturer specifies.

For efficient operation of an air conditioned vehicle's cooling system, the radiator cap should have a holding pressure that meets manufacturer's specifications. A cap, which fails to hold adequate pressures, should be replaced.
Any obstruction of or damage to the condenser assembly will restricts air flow, which is essential to efficient operation. It is, very important to keep this unit clean and in proper physical condition.

Bug screens, which are mounted in front of the condenser (unless they are original equipment), are regarded as obstructions.

The evaporator drain tube expels the water, which accumulates on the bottom of the evaporator housing. If this tube is obstructed, the air conditioning performance can be compromised and condensation buildup can spill over onto the vehicle's floor.


Although the A/C system should not be serviced by anyone who is not certified, preventive maintenance can be practiced and A/C system inspections can be performed to help maintain the efficiency of the vehicle's A/C system. For A/C system inspection, perform the following:

The easiest and often most important check for the air conditioning system consists of a visual inspection of the system components. A visual inspection can be performed on the following:

Inspect the air conditioning system hoses and components for signs of refrigerant leaks
Check the compressor clutch for excessive looseness
Check the compressor drive belt tension and/or condition
When the air conditioning is operating, make sure the drive belt is free of noise or slippage.
Check the evaporator drain tube and clear if necessary
Inspect the condenser, making sure it is free of debris, air blockage and the fins are straight and aligned
Check for disconnected or broken wires, blown fuses, corroded electrical connections and poor wiring insulation.
Check for kinks in hoses and lines. Check the system for leaks.
Make sure the blower motor operates at all appropriate positions, then check for distribution of the air from all outlets with the blower on HIGH or MAX.
Make sure the air passage selection lever is operating correctly. Start the engine and warm it to normal operating temperature, then make sure the temperature selection lever is operating correctly.

A refrigerant leak will usually appear as an oily residue at the leakage point in the system. The oily residue soon picks up dust or dirt particles from the surrounding air and appears greasy. Through time, this will build up and appear to be a heavy dirt impregnated grease.

Keep in mind that under conditions of high humidity, air discharged from the A/C vents may not feel as cold as expected, even if the system is working properly. This is because vaporized moisture in humid air retains heat more effectively than dry air, thereby making humid air more difficult to cool.