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Tech Tip: A/C Service With The R-1234yf Refrigerant

The most recent statistics show that 18 U.S. vehicles and 47 production lines are factory-equipped with R-1234yf, the new worldwide refrigerant that has entered the U.S. market. The statistics also show that in Europe, 83 production lines and 33 vehicles are already equipped with the new refrigerant. There are currently no Asian vehicles with R-1234yf, but Toyota has the equipment, so it will be coming soon.

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Vehicles with R-1234yf have different service fittings to prevent cross-contamination with different refrigerants. R-1234yf refrigerant is mildly flammable, so safety in handling is very important. In addition, technicians will note the procedure for servicing vehicles with R-1234yf is going to take longer than vehicles equipped with R-134a. There are more leak and purity check capabilities built into R-1234yf machines to comply with SAE standards.

Regardless of what machine you use, SAE-certified productivity guidelines require specific equipment performance, purity and safety guidelines for the recovery and recycling of motor vehicle refrigerant. Refer to the SAE J2788 guideline for R-134a refrigerant and the SAE J2843 guideline for R-1234yf refrigerant before purchasing a manufacturer’s product.

Why should shops consider purchasing a new machine to handle R-1234yf refrigerant? The most obvious answer is that old A/C machines that worked with R-134a will not be able to service the new refrigerant. So, you will need a separate machine for servicing R-1234yf-equipped vehicles.

Adoption rates for R-1234yf refrigerant are beginning to increase, and if you are one of the leading repair shops in your area, you’ll want to be known as the one shop in town that can handle the new refrigerant. Not only will your customers benefit, but other shops may sub out work on R-1234yf-equipped vehicles to you. We also know that not all dealerships have machines that can handle the new refrigerant.

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There’s no doubt that purchasing one of the new machines is a serious capital investment. However, our work with service providers in the field has shown that the payoff is quick for getting a return on your investment, with A/C service still being one of the most valuable services a shop can provide.

Courtesy of MAHLE Service Solutions. For more information, go to www.servicesolutions.mahle.com.

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