Auto Refrigerant is the Most Important Part of Your A/C!
It’s summer again! The weather’s heating up and while that means great fun in the sun and time to swim, it also means it’s time to get your vehicle’s air conditioner serviced. You don’t want AC repairs to come up as emergency on the hottest of days so we’re here today to help you find the right AC refrigerant for your vehicle.
It’s fairly easy to pick the right kind of A/C refrigerant for your truck or car, but if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (530) 826-4275, or text (530) 828-3007 if you prefer.
Types of Vehicle Refrigerants
There are 3 primary types of automobile refrigerants (essentially in chronological order). They are: R12, R134a, and R1234yf.
R12 – The Old Standard (AKA Type 3)
The first car A/C refrigerant people used is called R12. It’s proper science-y name is “Dichlorodifluoromethane”, but it goes by the brand name Freon. “Freon” has since become synonymous for harmful effects on the atmosphere; it depletes the ozone layer. It was banned in the US in 1994, so if your car was made in 1995 or later, you know you don’t use R12 refrigerant in your vehicle. Most likely, you use the next one in the list, R134A. While R12 is still legal to use in older vehicles, the refrigerant used in newer types generally works better.
Since we’ve stopped using R12 so broadly, the ozone layer is now on schedule to be restored completely sometime within the 21st century.
R134a – The One You Probably Have (AKA Type 2)
The most common proper name of R134A is “Tetrafluoroethane”. You can see why they shortened it. It benefits from low flammability so it’s safer, and it’s also better on the environment than R12 refrigerant. However, it’s still not that good on the environment so a new standard now comes in newer cars, R1234yf. R134a has already been phased out in the European Union since 2017.
Besides automobiles, R134a refrigerant is also used in all kinds of appliances too. It’s benefits are applicable as much to food refrigerators as car refrigerators. But because we’re phasing out for the new standard, currently only licensed buyers can buy large amounts of R134a coolant.
R1234yf – The New Standard
Much like any upgrade, R1234yf is a bit safer, more efficient, and better than its predecessor. It should’ve been used in all newly built cars in the US by 2021, but the regulations were held up in court in 2018. Nonetheless, R1234yf breaks down easier in the atmosphere thus less harm to ozone layer. Notably, it’s fairly easy to upgrade from R134A to R1234YF refrigerant though it’s best handled by a professional.
Did you know? You can get better performance and reliability from higher quality refrigerants. Of course they use the same primary chemicals (R134A, for example), but performance brands include special additives that can make for cooler air as well as extend the life of your cooling system. Some types can even help reduce moisture and acids in the air, which help make the cabin more comfortable and can even prevent foggy buildup on the windows that might obstruct your vision.
Can I change my own refrigerant?
Of course! R134a is notably not at all flammable and safe from exploding you. While end-users changing refrigerant is abnormal in basically every other field like appliance repair, it is actually fairly simple in some automobiles to change the refrigerant. Just search your manufacturer’s manual or website for the proper procedure to safely flush your A/C system and replace refrigerant without damaging anything.
Is it safe to mix refrigerants?
NO. Please do not mix R12 with R134a, or R1234yf with R134a, or any mixture of the sort. This can damage the cooling system. If you need help purging refrigerant from the cooling system, please let us know and we’ll be more than happy to run a full-system A/C recharge!
What if I suspect a Freon leak or refrigerant link?
Please seek professional AC service immediately. A leak may damage the cooling system or the vehicle components. Call for AC repairs cost quotes or if you have any questions.