How Cool Is That?: Auto AC Coolant — Valencia Auto Performance and Simply Smog

Just Chillin’

When it’s hot outside and you have places to go, you just want to stay cool and comfortable as you drive. You want to get into the sanctuary of your car’s passenger cabin, turn on some music and AC, and just chill. You can’t do that, however, unless the air conditioning system has a sufficient amount of refrigerant (coolant or cooling agent). For more information on this important substance as well as reputable vehicle AC repair, visit Valencia Auto Performance and Simply Smog in Santa Clarita, CA.

A Quick Guide to Your Vehicle’s Air Conditioning System

To understand why coolant is important, you need to know how the AC system works. It uses refrigerant (a gas) which is changed by the compressor into a liquid. That liquid is pressurized and forced through hoses until it reaches the condenser on the high pressure side of the system where it is cooled in a manner similar to the way a radiator works. Then the coolant moves through either an orifice tube or expansion valve to the evaporator core on the low pressure side of the system. (The specific construction of your AC system dictates whether you’ll find an expansion valve or orifice tube.) The refrigerant is now once again a gas. It absorbs heat from air passing through the evaporator fins. Cooled air goes through vents into the passenger area. The warmed refrigerant returns to the condenser to begin the cycle again.

Refrigerant/Coolant 101

Depending on the age of your vehicle and where you are in terms of system repair, you may hear reference to three kinds of refrigerant/coolant. They all serve the same function, but we’ll outline the differences below.

  • R12 was the industry standard until 1994 when it could no longer be used in new cars sold in the US. Also known as Freon-12 or just Freon to many drivers, Dichlorodifluoromethane was found to damage the earth’s ozone layer. As aging autos needed coolant replaced in their AC systems, they were refilled with a less harmful variety.
  • R134a replaced the ozone monster and is likely what’s currently in your system. It’s better for the environment, but it’s not perfect. Therefore, after this year (Yes, 2021!), this refrigerant will also be off the market.
  • R1234rf is the designated replacement because of how much quicker it breaks down in the atmosphere. While a few manufacturers have already started using this on new models, now they’ll all have to make a change.

The Best Place to Chill

Although you may have wondered about refrigerant/coolant, don’t sweat finding a local shop. Valencia Auto Performance and Simply Smog is your cool reliable choice.

Written by Valencia Auto Performance

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