What type of refrigerant does my car need?

Getting into your car on a hot Summer Day can really make you appreciate having a functional A/C system. Don’t wait until the weather is too hot to even drive with the windows down. Check your A/C system now and make sure you have enough cold air to punch through the heat and stay comfortable all summer long.

The first thing you need to know before recharging your automotive AC system is the type of refrigerant that your system needs. Older refrigerants have been phased out due to their environmental impact and replaced by cleaner options. The most common refrigerant is R-134A (or HFC-134a) however newer vehicles may use R-1234YF (or HFO-1234yf). Even still, some very old vehicles may also be using R-12 (or Freon).

The easiest way to know is to check your vehicles A/C system nameplate under the hood. We have provided a picture with an example for easy reference. If for some reason you cannot find the nameplate, you can also call your brand’s dealership and ask them to look it up for you. For older vehicles though, you might need to check yourself due to systems being retrofitted to newer gas types. Below we will help explain this to you.


R-134a (also called HFC-134a)

If you are reading this then chances are your vehicle uses R-134a. This is the most common gas, but still can damage the environment and is being phased out. If your vehicle was manufactured after 1994 but before 2014 then you most likely need R-134a. An R-134a recharge hose will only work on an R-134a system, so this can also help you determine what type of gas that you need.

R-1234yf (also called HFO-1234yf)

If your vehicle was purchased from 2014 to present then there is a good chance that you will need R-1234yf refrigerant. As with older systems, an R-134a recharge hose will not work on an R-1234yf coupler. This refrigerant is much better for the environment and can now be purchased from your local auto parts store for DIY recharging. R-1234yf vehicles older than 4-6 years or that have been in an accident may begin leaking refrigerant. If you need to add more and stop the leaks, check out our Avalanche Gold refrigerant with Smart Chip for a safe, easy, and accurate A/C Recharge.

R-12 (also called Freon)

R-12 is the oldest and original A/C refrigerant but was replaced due to damage it was causing to the Ozone layer. If your vehicle model was manufactured before 1995, then your system may have R-12. Some R-12 systems also may have been retrofitted to R-134a. In this case, you may be able to see this on a sticker under the hood. Finally, when all else fails, check the service ports. R-12 and R-134a use different size fittings, so an R-134a recharge hose will not fit on an R-12 service port. R-12 is still available for purchase, however you might consider having it retrofitted to R-134a which is better for the environment and more readily available for purchase.

We hope this helps set you in the right direction so that you can have peace of mind in knowing that you are using the correct type of refrigerant for your vehicle. Please remember that using the wrong type of refrigerant for your system can create a hazard or cause serious damage so it is very important to get it right. Don’t worry though, as AC Avalanche recharge hoses can only work on systems of their respective type, eliminating the risk of using the wrong type.

Click here to view all AC Avalanche refrigerant products, and here for how-to videos on recharging your AC system!

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