Shop Talk Logo

Freon – An Essential Part of Your AC

Fall and Winter months often produce cooler mornings and evenings but with sunshine, the days can be rather warm. Considering that your car interior is often hotter than the outside temperature, the need for air conditioning throughout these seasons is just as vital as it is during the summer months. That’s why it’s important to ensure your air conditioning is working all through the year. During this time, it’s easy to forget to check the level of Freon, leaks, and the function of other air conditioning components but it’s important that these items are inspected year-round.

What Is Freon In a Car?

Similar to how the brand Kleenex became synonymous with the tissue, Freon is actually a registered trademark for a product used as a refrigerant in a vehicle’s air conditioning system. The refrigerant is made up of a mix of chlorine, fluorine, carbon hydrogen, or bromine. At room temperature, the refrigerant is a gas but turns into a liquid when cold or compressed. Most are odorless, colorless, and non-flammable. However, they can be toxic if inhaled or if they come in contact with skin or eyes. Individuals who are exposed should seek immediate medical attention. Also known as chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, the most common type of refrigerant in today’s vehicles is R-12 and R-134A. However, R-12 has been barred from production and R-134 will be removed from production by 2020 due to the damaging effects to the environment.

Why Freon For Cars Is Necessary

Your car’s air conditioning is a closed system that relies on refrigerant to do the job of cooling the cabin area of the vehicle. The refrigerant evaporates, within the system, which is what keeps you cool and comfortable behind the wheel. When temperatures begin to rise, the fluid condenses again, so that it may continue to cycle through the system.

Don’t Ignore a Leak

Leaks within the air conditioning system should never be ignored. The refrigerant in the system carries the oil that lubricates the internal components if the refrigerant is low the oil is not circulating and can damage components like the compressor.  Even in the winter, your air conditioning system is used in assisting the defroster via the air compressor to remove condensation on the inside of the windshield. Having the refrigerant cycle through the system, even in the winter, is vital to the operation of the air conditioner.

It’s important to fix any leaks in the system as soon as possible; not only for your own personal comfort but also because refrigerant is dangerous to the ozone and emits greenhouse gasses. When a leak is present, your vehicle exposes this hazardous chemical gas into the environment. It’s also important to note that proper disposal of used refrigerant is to be done so responsibly. A dependable automotive center, like Sun Devil Auto, will use specialized equipment to safely contain the Freon from the air conditioning system to prevent contaminating the environment.

freon check

How Leaks Are Detected

You may likely notice the air conditioner has a leak even before it’s diagnosed because the air coming out of the vents will not be as cold. Fortunately, even the tiniest of leaks can be found utilizing a special fluorescent dye to pinpoint the exact area of a leak. You might be surprised to learn that an evacuation and recharge will not repair a leak. Because the air conditioning is a closed/sealed system, the refrigerant cannot evaporate or get used up. If refrigerant levels are low, there is a leak somewhere in the system. Evacuation only removes contaminants and air as well as turn the system into a vacuum. When charged, there is no air in the system.

Maintenance Is a Must

As with anything else in your vehicle, the air conditioner should be maintained regularly. A visual inspection of the system can help find possible leaks. A technician will look closely at hoses or seals to look for any kind of oil residue, an indicator of a leak. An evacuation and recharge of the system will help pull small amounts of air and contaminants out of the system and should be done every two years. At the same time, you should consider replacing the expansion tube or screen.  This helps keep the system clear of small particles and determines how well the system is being lubricated. A dirty cabin air filter can cause your air conditioning system to work harder than it needs to. By replacing the cabin air filter every 10,000 miles or when it gets dirty, it will help to maintain proper airflow.

Keep Cool with Sun Devil Auto

Summer or winter, a fully functioning air conditioner is a comfort that cannot be surrendered. We, at Sun Devil Auto, understand the importance of having air conditioning whether the temperatures are 110 degrees or a mere 75 degrees outside. That’s why we encourage our customers to come in for our no-appointment necessary FREE 30-Minute Air Conditioning Inspection, especially in the Spring, before the temperatures really soar. This special offer includes an inspection of belts and hoses, an electronic test for leaks and contamination, an inspection of system components, and a duct temperature efficiency measurement. If your vehicle requires further inspection or an evacuation and recharge, we can do that, too! You’ll find all our air conditioning services are competitively priced, backed by a guarantee in writing, and performed by ASE Certified Technicians. You’ll feel cool and comfortable knowing your vehicle is cared for by Sun Devil Auto.