Do All A/C Systems Use Refrigerant?

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All air conditioners use a refrigerant, whether it's your car’s HVAC system, a central heating and air system, or your home’s refrigerator. Refrigerant is what makes the system operate. Refrigerants are compressed from gas to liquid – when a liquid, they’re cycled from the condenser through the rest of the high-pressure side, where they absorb heat. When they reach the low pressure side, they transform back to their gaseous form and begin to dissipate the heat they’ve absorbed before being recirculated through the system once more.

Types of refrigerant

Freon is a brand name registered to DuPont, and it’s applied to quite a few different refrigerants, the most common of which is R-12. Once, this was the most common type of refrigerant used in automotive air conditioners, but it is being phased out. You can tell if your car uses R-12 or R-124a by looking at the input taps.

How to tell if your car uses refrigerant

As of 1990, the US passed the Clean Air Act, which specifically mandated that all cars manufactured after that date could only use R-124a, which is a different type of refrigerant, and does not use the brand name Freon. The act also made it illegal to produce any more R-12. While there is still some of this refrigerant available, the amount continues to decrease, which means that the costs of recharging a car with this type of refrigerant will continue to increase.

The only ways around this particular issue is to either purchase a car that was manufactured after 1990, decide not to use the air conditioner, or have your current system retrofitted to use R-124a. Note that you cannot mix R-12 and R-124a – they are completely different and a retrofit will require new high and low pressure lines, a new condenser, accumulator and more. It can be a costly conversion, but given the increasing price of R-12, it might be worth it to consider the retrofit.


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Rigoberto

9 years of experience
706 reviews
Rigoberto
9 years of experience
Chevrolet Equinox - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Niles, Illinois
Rigo was great! He got there early, finished the job early, left everything clean. He changed my rear pads and rotors. The original quoted time was 90 minutes, he was done in about 60. He knows what he is doing and I am recommending him to all my friends and coworkers.
Mercedes-Benz C250 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Chicago, Illinois
Rigo is a maverick hands down. Don’t take your car for work elsewhere. Especially great at Mercedes—this guy knows his profession! I will be using him for everything related to my car going forward.

Arturo

25 years of experience
35 reviews
Arturo
25 years of experience
Kia Forte - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - San Diego, California
ARTURO is great! very professional , fast, replaced my front brake pads and oil an filter change. everything now works and works well. Brakes have much improved stopping power and engine is smooth and quiet.Arturo is also kind and thoughtful. "Your mechanic" is very fortunate to have Arturo Lopez represent your company. I enthusiastically recommend him and "Your mechanic> as a fine operation Best regards to the Team Peter Marto
Nissan Maxima - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - San Diego, California
Arturo was prompt and completed my brake repair, including new rotors in a very efficient manner. I am very pleased with the quality of the work and the parts and will definitely look to have him service our other car in the near future.

Scott

32 years of experience
345 reviews
Scott
32 years of experience
Lexus IS250 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Denver, Colorado
Always on time, speedy, professional, and pleasant to interact with. The work is always consistent and we'll done. I can't reccomend Scott highly enough!

Michael

10 years of experience
15 reviews
Michael
10 years of experience
Nissan Sentra - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Conyers, Georgia
He was promptly on time and got the job done efficiently in a timely manner. I really appreciate the rapid respone on getting the job done! I would most definitely use this service again.

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