Things to Know About Automotive Refrigerant - KIA A/C Service Information in Olympia, WA

When you turn the A/C on in your car on a hot day, have you ever wondered where the cold air was coming from? In part it comes from the refrigerant inside the system. The compressor and condenser push the refrigerant gas through the system, changing temperature and drawing warm air from the cabin while pumping cool air inside.

But there's a catch: the refrigerant in your car is a volatile chemical. Special machinery is required to service a car's A/C system, so that old gasses can be captured and recycled. Venting them into the air is illegal in the US according to EPA regulations! That's because refrigerants in your car are part of a class of chemicals that's been found to deplete the ozone layer and contribute to global warming. Learn about the different types of automotive refrigerant on this page from Hanson Kia!

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And remember: Automotive refrigerant types don't mix! Unique machinery is required to service a vehicle for each type of refrigerant inside. Be sure to consult your owner's manual to find out what refrigerant your car uses before having the system serviced.

Type #3: R12 -- The Old and Busted One

For many years, R12 was the automotive refrigerant standard. It was effective and cheap. However, scientists quickly discovered its sinister secret: It was partially responsible for the rapidly-depleting ozone layer. In 1994, it was banned from all new cars sold in the US.

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As it turns out, mankind is pretty good at engineering itself out of problems. The Ozone layer is recovering now that bans on Ozone Depleting Substances are in place globally. In fact, the EPA says that these bans, "Are expected to result in a near complete recovery of the ozone layer near the middle of the 21st century."

If you drive a classic car, it may still be equipped with R12 refrigerant, and it's still legal to drive and everything -- but if you want the best cooling performance and easier A/C service, you can have an older car converted to work with a newer refrigerant type.

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Type #2: R134a -- The One That's (Probably) In Your Car Right Now

In most cars that are on the road today, R134a refrigerant makes the A/C system blow cold on hot days. Selected for its low flammability and safety, as well as because it's kinder to the environment, almost every car built since 1994 is equipped with R134 refrigerant.

However, kinder is the key word. By our modern standards today, it's really not all that kind to the environment. R134a has been found to have a lot of greenhouse gas potential, as it can end up in the atmosphere and take forever to break down. For that reason, all new vehicles sold in America after the year 2021 can no longer use this type of refrigerant.

Type #2: R1234yf -- The New Hotness

Or should we say coolness? It is refrigerant, after all.

R1234yf was chosen to replace R134a in all new cars by 2021. Some manufacturers have already made the switch, or the switch is in progress. In fact, as of 2018, 70% of new Kia cars already come equipped with R1234yf!

This new refrigerant performs similarly to R134a, but with one important difference: it breaks down much faster in the upper atmosphere. That means it'll contribute less to global warming. It's also easy to upgrade a car's A/C system from R134a to make it compatible with R1234yf.

Be sure to bookmark this page and visit again in 2039 when society finds out what's bad about R1234yf, and what newer, safer chemical will replace it in your car!

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  1. Hanson Kia

    2300 Carriage Loop SW
    Olympia, WA 98502

    • Sales: (877) 816-5820

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Hanson Kia

2300 Carriage Loop SW
Directions Olympia, WA 98502

  • Sales: (360) 339-5079
  • Service: (360) 339-5079
  • Parts: (360) 339-5079