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Keeping your cool: What does R1234yf mean for your aircon regas?

R1234yf sounds like the name of a planet from the Aliens movie franchise, and like HR Giger’s terrifying creation it’s striking fear into the hearts of new car owners and air conditioning experts everywhere.

From the 1st January 2017, EU regulations have required vehicle manufacturers to change the type of refrigerant gas used in car air conditioning systems. The old R134a gas has been banned in new vehicles and a new gas – the snappily titled  R1234yf (full name 2,3,3,3-Tetrafluoropropene, or HFO-1234yf) – replaces it. Claimed to be more environmentally friendly, it is also a lot more expensive.

The R1234yf molecule in all its glory

It’s complicated….

There is some debate amongst those who aren’t lawyers or legislators over when the ban on R134a actually started – the EU directive dates back to 2006. What you need to know is that some manufacturers have been using the new R1234yf refrigerant for many years, and others will now be forced to do so. New cars that are currently built but not registered have a stay of execution until 1 January 2018, when we can expect to see quite a lot of pre-registrations going on at franchised dealers….

How does this affect me?

The equipment for recharging air conditioning systems charged with the new, environmentally friendly gas isn’t the same as the equipment used for handling the old gas. This may not sound like a big deal, but the new equipment is expensive so many garages and AC specialists don’t have it.  Additionally, there isn’t a publically available list of which cars use R1234yf so checking in advance to see if your local service centre has the right equipment to regas your aircon can be tricky.

For most people, the biggest downside of the new gas is the price. Typically speaking an aircon regas for older vehicles was £50-75. With the new R1234yf refrigerant, this could potentially increase to £500-600 for large luxury vehicles, and that comes down to the raw materials – the gas is a lot more expensive.

The good news

R1234yf is better for the environment so by using it, we will be slowing down the rate at which the planet warms up and forces us to recharge our air conditioning systems…..

If you need any advice or information on getting your AC system recharged or serviced, we can cater for ANY air conditioning unit on any vehicle. Just call our service department on 01423 863100.

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