EU Car Manufacturers Switch to HFO-1234YP by January 2017
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EU Car Manufacturers Switch to HFO-1234YP by January 2017

HF0-1234YP is a type of refrigerant used in cars air conditioning systems and is set to replace the current cooler HFC-134a completely in all vehicles by 2017. The switch was first announced in 2011 however there was little HF0-12345Y readily available, due to this the EU delayed the switch.

There have been protests from many car manufacturers including the German automobile giant Mercedes citing the new refrigerant was dangerously flammable – despite this, all car manufacturers in the EU must comply.

Why is it Being Changed?

The change is being implemented to reduce the amount of harmful gasses released into the environment, the new refrigerant has a GWP (global warming potential) of 4 compared to its predecessor which sits at a GWP of 1340 – meaning the new refrigerant is 97% less potent at trapping heat in the atmosphere with the current refrigerant taking up to 10 years to break down into non-harmful gases.

Although the change is only valid in EU countries a lot of American dealerships are adopting the change due to strict new fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards.

Will I have to refit my cars old AC?

No, although it is now mandatory to have your car filled with a refrigerant that is better for the environment the switch is easy; both refrigerants run on identical systems, therefore, there is no need to replace your old A/C. Most people are probably unaware of what refrigerant their air conditioning contains. If you ask your car servicer they may be able to inform you.

Why are some car manufacturers sceptical to use R1234YF?

There are reports that some car manufacturers are trying to avoid the change due to a flammability story, citing that the newer refrigerant is much more flammable and could pose as a threat if the vehicle was to be involved in a collision. However, these allegations are questionable, although it’s true the new refrigerant is more flammable it’s not different to any other previous refrigerants in terms of toxicity if released under the pressure of a collision

Mercedes and VW suggested using a co2 based refrigerant which would effectively have a GWP of 1 however it would require a whole redesign of the current air conditioning system in most vehicles and predictions show it wouldn’t be as effective as the current systems.

What does it mean for car repair centres?

Repair centres will be required to purchase new equipment and train their staff in the use of it if they want to be able to service cars with a new AC – due to the lack of R1234YF in circulation.

At Autocare, we are fully trained and equipped to carry out AC repairs and recharges on older models and newer models that use the new R12345yf refrigerant.

Will it affect the Price of my New Car?

Whilst the new air refrigerant is very expensive compared to its predecessor minimal cost will be passed on to the buyer, repairs may be more expensive due to the extra equipment and training costs that will be incurred by the garage, prices should drop as the refrigerant becomes more readily available and more Autocare repair centres purchase the new equipment.

How often should I have my vehicles air conditioning serviced?

AC’s are susceptible to faults due to the temperature, moisture and vibration exposure they are subject to. Most specialists recommend you take your AC for a service every 18 months – 2 years to ensure maximum efficiency, it’s also recommended to use the AC at least a few minutes every week to ensure that the rubber seals and gaskets in your system don’t dry out. With summer coming up, it’s good practice to take your AC in for a recharge if you notice any underperformance

Can I service the air conditioning myself?

Many people aren’t concerned about the maintenance of their car past topping up brake fluids and screenwash – if you are thinking about attempting to repair or maintain your AC, although it’s possible, we always recommend using a specialist to repair and maintain your AC due to the nature of the refrigerants and coolants that run through the complex systems being hazardous to health

What’s the difference between a coolant and a refrigerant?

Coolant is a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water, a water pump circulates coolant through the engine and radiator once the engine reaches a certain temperature to prevent overheating, the water pump also restricts the flow when the engine is cold to allow quicker warm ups.

Refrigerant (like R1234yf) is the part that keeps you cool, it runs through the AC system and cools the air in the car by absorbing heat, it owes this capability to its low boiling point.

What is Freon?

Much like hoover is a brand of vacuum cleaner, Freon was an alias for a type of refrigerant called R-12 which was phased out in the early 90’s due to its adverse effects on the environment – much like R-134a is being phased out now. Some people still refer to refrigerant as Freon for short.

Need an A/C repair?

If you notice underperformance or strange smells coming from your car’s air conditioning or have any questions regarding the changes mentioned give us a call to speak to one of our experts on 01291 627137.


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