What's Different About R1234yf refrigerant?
We wrote previously about the Different Types of Car Refrigerant, and today we're going to focus on the newest type R1234yf and why it's been chosen to replace the previous, currently more common standard, R-134a.
It's critical that you use the right refrigerant in your vehicle's engine cooling system, otherwise you risk damaging your engine. For many new cars in the US- and all news cars in the EU- R-1234yf is the refrigerant you'll need to use. Vehicle model years after 2021 will most likely use R-1234yf, although there has been some regulatory sluggishness in implementation so this is not necessarily the case in all vehicles distributed in the US. European drivers, however, will not have any such confusion.
Ironically, R-1234yf was chosen in part for its many similarities to R-134a. Although it wasn’t necessary to reinvent the wheel, certain performance enhancements in certain systems lend themselves to R-1234yf instead. The core benefit of R1234yf- and primary reason for the switch too- is that it’s vastly better for the environment. See, the reason we started using R134a is because its predecessor, R12 aka “freon” was in fact horrible for the environment and the Ozone layer, due to release chlorine gas into the atmosphere. So we switched to R134a, but, turns out, it’s not that great on the Ozone layer either so we’re moving on to something that’s much the same just much less harmful, R1234yf.
Engine Coolants and Certifications
Some of the downsides to the switch include the need for certification to purchase it (section 609 with the EPA). Another note is that R-1234yf is mildly flammable, which scares some people. However, this is a bit of a moot point considering cars always also contain gasoline which is also flammable, but it is a notable quality for those who feel they can never be too safe. Additionally, it’s quite expensive. A 10lb cylinder of R134a can run just over $100, while R-1234yf can run as high over $500 for the same amount. And servicing it requires new machines to extract and recycle refrigerant for coolant and fluid repairs.
New Standard, New Future
Progress plods ahead like an old donkey and sometimes keeping it going is it bit of a pain in the “ass” (pun intended). If you don’t appreciate the sweltering summer heat right now, you can see the benefit to taking care of the environment now before it gets worse than this. And if you don’t care about that, care about your engine; it’ll keep it cooler better and reduce the risk of damage.
Much of this information came from RefrigerationHQ.com, and if you’d like to read further about the performance specifications of R1234yf, you can find them by clicking here: “R1234yf Refrigerant Fact Info Sheet”
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Check in next week for more articles, and let us know in the comments what you think about R-1234yf refrigerant.