Freon is a refrigerant that was (and still is) used in older car a/c units. While newer cars that were manufactured from 2021 onwards use a different type (R1234yf or Tetrafluoropropene), Freon is still found in pre-1996 manufactured vehicles in the developed world and pre-2010 in the developing world.
In between those dates, a different type of refrigerant was used—namely R134a—in an effort to reduce the effects on the ozone layer caused by Freon leaking from a/c units and older fridge and freezer models.
However, environmentally-damaging issues aside, while you’ve probably got a vehicle that uses a less harmful a/c refrigerant, many of us still use the word “freon” to describe the gasses that cause your air conditioning to blow cold air. To align with this common mistaken identity, our use of the word freon can be taken to mean any of the different refrigerants that are in use today.
No matter what you call it, the following are 4 sure-fire signs that your car is due for an a/c recharge…
You can see a leak. All refrigerants look like a thin, liquid grease that, if it manages to escape from the closed a/c system, is easily recognized. Some typical places that it might be seen include:
If you see any suspicious liquid, clean it away and check again a few hours later or the next day. If it returns, then it could be freon—or it’s a leak of some other kind. Whatever the substance, it needs to be investigated.
You see ice on the compressor (this is located at the front of the engine compartment, along with the other belt-driven accessories). Low levels of freon in the a/c system cause moisture to take its place. In turn, this might cause ice to build up on the compressor.
There is no DIY fix for this. The vehicle should be taken to a professional air conditioning repair/recharge service provider.
The clutch doesn’t engage when you switch on the a/c. When the system is working correctly, the clutch senses the level of freon and activates to pressurize the gas. If there isn’t enough in the system, the sensor won’t be activated so the clutch fails to engage.
This is certainly the easiest to spot—not to mention the most obvious sign that your a/c needs more freon—and that’s when the system fails to cool the car. You’ve set it to cold, switched it on, and all that happens is the air blowing around is the same temperature as outside.
So, there you have it. 4 of the most common signs that your vehicle is due an a/c recharge. It can happen in summer or winter, so don’t be fooled into waiting until the mercury rises before getting it sorted. The last thing you want is a failing system when the temperature hits the 70s and above–so what are you waiting for…?
The key to a fast, effective, and value-for-money a/c recharge is to utilize the very best service provider. That means heading to a garage that not only knows about gasses but also has a/c technicians who’re also experts in the make and model of your vehicle.
Sadly, not all a/c recharges are made equal. Without the right service, gas, and know-how, an air conditioning service can provide sub-optimal results and an all-out failure far sooner than should happen.
At Autobahn, you can be sure that all of our technicians are not only marque-trained and qualified but that they also undergo regular updates so they’re right at the top of their game when it comes to knowing exactly what your vehicle needs.
From an a/c service to every other maintenance and repair needs, Autobahn is the go-to provider for Florida’s savvy luxury car owners.