We are coming into the dog days of summer and air conditioning usage will be rising especially in our cars as we are a mobile society. I just thought I would do some preventative maintenance and top off the AC charge in the cars. Most cars on the road presently use R134 A as a refrigerant which replaced R12.
R12 which was commonly known as freon was taken out of cars in the 1980s as they claimed it was causing holes in the earth’s ozone layer. Now if you have an old car which still uses R12, you can’t just go and buy a can and even if you did the cost is about $30 for a 12 ounce can and you must submit proof that you are EPA certified. A 12 ounce can of R134A runs about $7 and anyone can purchase it at your local auto store with no proof of any kind of certification.
The EPA is requiring the replacement of R134A with a new refrigerant R1234YF. The replacement will still take several years as only the newer car models have air conditioners that can use R1234YF. Here is a list of cars with R1234YF systems.
BMW i3 Electric
Chevrolet Malibu, Spark EV, Trax
Chrysler 200C, 200S, 300, 300C
Citroën C4, Elysëe
Dodge Challenger, Charger, Dart, Ram 1500
Great Wall Motor Company Limited – Voleex C30
Honda Fit EV
Hyundai Santa Fe, i30
Jaguar F Type
Jeep Cherokee, Renegade
Kia Sorento, Optima, Carenz, Cee’d2
Peugeot 301, 308
Range Rover and Range Rover Sport
Renault Zoe 3
SAIC Motor Corporation Limited MG350/Rover 350
Subaru BRZ, Forrester, Impreza, XV
Tesla Model S
Toyota Yaris HSD, Prius Plus, GT86
R1234YF has many detractive features when compared to R134A. The first is cost, a 12 ounce can of R1234YF will cost almost $100, compared to about $7 for the same amount of R134A. R1234YF is flammable where as R134A in nonflammable. This is a obvious safety hazard as if the AC line is ruptured or develops a leak, the car has many hot surfaces and electrical conductors that can ignite the refrigerant. This leads to another problematic feature of R1234YF, when ignited it emits a highly toxic gas called hydrogen floride.