Vehicle technology is one thing that is constantly changing. Whilst bigger and better engines are being brought to the market all the time, changing the gas used in modern day car air conditioning systems sent ripples throughout the entire industry when it was introduced over 18 months ago.
Officially referred to as HFO-1234yf, the new gas has revolutionised the system and the wider environmental footprint of the modern vehicle. However, despite being approved for use in the US, Japan and Europe back in 2012, the reported potential dangers of the new air conditioning coolant left many drivers worried. We’re here to give you the facts you need to confidently purchase a new vehicle with a new air conditioning coolant, realise the associated benefits of HFO-1234yf, and understand the costs that could affect you as a driver.
Why the big change for air con?
Whilst new cars now use a very different gas, prior to the introduction of HFO-1234yf, vehicles came equipped with its predecessor, R134a, and indeed many older vehicles still come with this pre-existing system in tow. With global warming and the environmental impact of vehicle use becoming more and more of a hot topic in recent years, the automotive industry thought that it was time for change.
With that HFO-1234yf was introduced, and with the new gas producing 98% less climate damaging emissions than R134a, it seemed the entire sector had found a worthy substitute. Thanks to its new properties, the air conditioning gas even supported the MAC Directive, a series of strict environmental regulations that are enforced throughout the European Union. In addition to the reduced vehicle footprint, use of HFO-1234yf was also proven to enhance fuel efficiency and overall sustainability.
The costs every driver should be aware of
There are some downsides to the use of HFO-1234yf in new vehicles. This new air conditioning coolant is much more expensive, in fact re-gassing costs have soared from an affordable £65 to upwards of £300 for systems using HFO-1234yf. As only a select few garages provide the re-gassing service for the cars that make use of the new air conditioning coolant, the main dealers who do deliver this service charge a premium.
Why is regular re-gassing important?
Considering that it is recommended that vehicle air conditioning systems should be serviced and re-gassed every one to two years, drivers will be facing increased maintenance costs just to keep their vehicles on the road. Without regular re-gassing your air conditioning system’s performance, as well as the health of the driver and passengers within the vehicle, will be directly affected due to the build-up of fungus, bacteria and other contaminants. Your car may also be plagued by a constant, unpleasant odour.
Fear not, drivers of new cars needn’t face the high but unavoidable cost of re-gassing forever. There are specialist courses available to train authorised technicians how to re-gas and work safely with the new systems. At Collison’s our technicians have undertaken this approved 3 day training programme and we now offer a re-gassing service from just £200.