Keeping Cool: The Role of Refrigerant in Your Vehicle’s AC System
Your vehicle’s air conditioning system depends upon refrigerant to produce cool air for the passenger cabin. Think of it as doing for the warm air what a mint does for your mouth. The refrigerant changes states between gas and liquid as it circulates around the system. Various components help it absorb and dissipate heat and moisture as it moves. If you need routine maintenance services or repair for the AC in any make or model vehicle, or if you simply want more information about refrigerant, count on the ASE and ATRA certified technicians at West Automotive Group in Escondido, California. Since 1993, we’ve been assisting customers to stay cool by attending to their transportations’ air conditioning needs.
As stated, refrigerant, commonly called Freon by many, is the cooling agent in your car’s AC. Depending on the year model of your auto and when it was serviced, you may currently have one of three types of refrigerant. Each plays the same role, but the major difference is the environmental impact.
* Known as Freon-12, R12 (Dichlorodifluoromethane) was the industry choice until 1994. However, it was wreaking havoc on the ozone layer of the atmosphere, so manufacturers were banned from using it in new cars sold in the United States.
* R134a, which replaced Freon-12, did considerably less damage to the environment. Even so, it wasn’t without a negative impact. Therefore, it will no longer be marketed after 2021.
* R123rg is the coolant replacing the current R134a. It breaks down more quickly, minimizing the atmospheric risk. While some manufacturers are already using it in new models, all automakers will need to make the changeover soon.
When to Replace (Recharge)
Since the refrigerant is crucial to auto AC function, perhaps you’re wondering when you should replace it. (FYI: Replacing refrigerant is also called recharging the system.) As a general rule of thumb, you should have the system checked each year to ensure that it’s in optimal working order. You’ll likely need to have refrigerant added every couple of years. However, if your auto is older or has developed a system breach, it may leak down and need recharging sooner. If the AC lacks a sufficient amount of refrigerant, there are signs you’ll likely notice. For instance, the air coming from your vents may not be as cool as it used to be. Also, it may seem as if your system is struggling to cool your car when the temperature soars. You may even hear odd noises (banging or rattling). A musty smell is a giveaway, too. No matter the symptom, West Automotive Group in Escondido, CA, can help you cool off again.