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Refrigerant is used by a vehicle's air conditioning system to keep the interior cool and comfortable in warm temperatures.



What Is Refrigerant?

  • Air conditioning systems are closed loops and rely on a complicated solution known as refrigerant to function. For years a solution known as R-134a was favored and is still in widespread use, but it is gradually being replaced by new types of refrigerant considered to be more environmentally friendly. New solutions, such as R-1234YF (a hydrofluoroolefin) can be used in lower volumes and more efficiently.

How Does Refrigerant Work?

  • Refrigerant is used as part of a system to remove humidity from the air. It's drawn into the compressor - a pump activated by an engine driven belt - before being compressed and forced into the condenser as a pressurized gas. The condenser (which acts as a radiator) turns the solution into liquid form before it's dried and passed through to the evaporator. At that point, the refrigerant is a cold liquid that is blown into the compartment by a separate fan.

How Is Refrigerant Made?

  • Refrigerant is made by combining two different molecules,ethane and methane,which are pure hydrocarbons. A certain number of hydrogen atoms are replaced by fluorine and chlorine in order to make refrigerants, which have been in widespread use throughout the automotive industry for years. CFCs and HCFCs used to be the refrigerant of choice before being replaced by the blended product R-134a, which is in turn being phased out in favor of a more environmentally-friendly solution.

How Does Refrigerant Fail?

  • It can leak from O-rings,pipe connections,seals,or hoses.
  • It can lose its charge.
  • It can become contaminated.

What Are the Symptoms of Failure?

  • The system will simply blow warm air.
  • High-pitched noises from the engine's drive belt or drive belt failure.
  • Failure to operate.

What Are the Consequences of Failure?

  • The compressor will break down.
  • Uncomfortable passenger cabin temperatures.

If you have questions or concerns about refrigerant or any of your vehicle’s components, come into your local Pep Boys where we can answer any question, help you find any part, or perform any vehicle service you might need.