What is R-1234yf?

Ever since Ford made cars accessible to the general public with the Model T, engineers have worked year after year to improve vehicles, making them more efficient, powerful, and comfortable. One of these advances that most take for granted is air conditioning. The first car that could be optioned with A/C from the factory was the 1940 Packard. Now, over 80 years later, nearly all new vehicles come equipped with air conditioning.

Since 1940, air conditioning in cars and trucks has become more efficient, environmentally friendly, smaller, and better packaged. In addition to components in the system, the refrigerant used to cool the air entering the cabin has changed. Since 2020, a new refrigerant, R-1234YF, has been used in new vehicles. This new refrigerant can provide better fuel economy and has less impact on the environment. In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about R-1234YF.

What is Refrigerant? 

Refrigerant is a substance with a low boiling point that cycles between a liquid and gaseous state. The refrigerant flows through the components of an A/C system like the compressor, condenser, and evaporator, removing heat and allowing colder air to blow into the cabin of your car or truck.

auto air conditioning system graphic

A Brief History of A/C Refrigerant in Cars and Trucks

Automotive manufacturers have used a few different refrigerants over the years, changing as technology and environmental regulations changed.

R12 (Freon)

R12 was the first refrigerant used in automotive A/C systems, from 1940 until the mid-1990s when it was banned due to its severe environmental impacts. Freon is a brand name that has become a catchall term for A/C refrigerant, but only R12 was produced under that name.

Nowadays, it can be hard to find a shop with the capacity to service older R12-equipped vehicles, and many classic car owners convert the A/C system to work with a modern refrigerant.

R12 has a GWP (global warming potential) of 10200.

134a

In 1996, R12 refrigerant was fully phased out of new vehicles and replaced with 134a. 134a is far less harmful to the environment, as it is not ozone-depleting. 134a is not as effective at cooling as the R12 it replaced, but environmental regulations pushed the change.

134a has a GWP of 1300.

Why Are Manufacturers Switching to R-1234yf?

The EPA ordered a complete transition from 134a to R-1234yf by the mid-2020s. The new refrigerant is even more environmentally friendly than 134a, with a GWP of just 1. Besides the reduced environmental impact, 12134yf refrigerant systems are less likely to leak and may not require as frequent service.

A potential downside to the new refrigerant is its cost, which is significantly more than the 134a it replaces. However, with the less service required, the higher price can be mitigated.

What Does 1234yf Mean for Me?

Nothing. If you have a newer vehicle that uses it, make sure your repair shop is equipped to service A/C systems with 1234yf. If you own an older car that uses 134a, don’t worry. The transition will take place over time, and you will still be able to get your air conditioning serviced or recharged. With so many vehicles on the road still using it, 134a will continue to be produced.

Conclusion

As automakers transition to 1234yf refrigerant, you will likely start to hear more and more about it. We hope this article helped clear up any questions or concerns you may have had about your vehicle’s air conditioning system!

Air Conditioning Service at Becker Service Center

Whether you own a car with 134a or 1234yf, the technicians at Becker Service Center have the skills and experience needed to service and recharge your air conditioning system. Unsure what refrigerant you have in your car? Our friendly service advisors can tell you! If your air conditioning isn’t working as it should, give us a call or schedule an appointment online at our Naperville repair shop today!

How to Tell When your Brake Hoses Need to Be Replaced

Brakes are a complicated system relying on many parts working together. Calipers, pads, and rotors are the most visible part of the system and require frequent service or replacement due to the heat and friction they endure when the caliper clamps the pads down on the rotor to stop the car.

Brake hoses do not require the same service frequency as pads and rotors, but they will likely need to be replaced during the lifetime of your vehicle. They play an essential role in the function of the braking system. Damaged, cracked, or collapsed brake hoses are a major safety hazard.

Brake Lines vs Brake Hoses

While they connect directly, the brake line generally refers to the hard, metal piping that runs from the master cylinder through the vehicle. Brake hoses are flexible rubber tubes that connect from the end of the solid line to the brake caliper.

Brake hoses are made of a flexible material to allow the wheels to turn without them breaking. Unfortunately, they are more susceptible to damage. 

brake line connecting to brake hose
The solid brake lines can be seen connecting to the rubber brake hose

What Do Brake Hoses Do?

There is a lot more to the braking system that goes on out of sight. For the caliper to be activated when you press the pedal, hydraulic brake fluid amplifies the force of your foot pressing the pedal. The fluid passes from the master cylinder, through the brake lines and hoses, and into the caliper.

Brake hose connecting to caliper
The brake hose connects directly with the brake caliper, supplying it with brake fluid.

Signs of Brake Hose Problems

Issues with brake hoses will normally involve a brake fluid leak. Depending on the severity, the symptoms can vary.

The Brake Light Comes On

Low brake fluid can cause the brake light to come on. If the light comes on, pop the hood and check the fluid level. The reservoir can be found on the driver’s side, just in front of the firewall.

Brake Fluid on the Ground

If you have a severely damaged or broken brake hose, you may notice drops of brake or a small puddle of fluid on the ground where you park.

The Pedal Feels Different

If a brake hose is leaking and the fluid level is low, the amount of pressure transferred from the pedal to the caliper will drop. This will cause the pedal to feel spongy or soft.

The Brakes Are Not as Effective

Again, with low fluid levels from a broken brake hose, power amplified by the brake fluid will be less, and the brakes will not have a strong “bite” like they used to. In the case of severe leaks or a completely broken hose, the brakes can fail.

What Causes Brake Hoses to Fail?

There are a few ways brake hoses can fail. The material the lines are made from can also dictate how they fail. Brake hoses are most commonly made of rubber but also come as a braided stainless steel line. 

Generally, they will wear out after years of use and thousands of miles of driving. They can become caked with dirt, grime, and grease that will break down the rubber faster. A hard impact from road debris can nick or even sever the hose.

The brake fluid inside the hose retains water and can become contaminated with debris. Over time, contaminated brake fluid can lead to brake hose failure. This is why regular brake fluid flushes are important.

Brake hose caked with dirt and grease
Brake hoses can become caked with dirt and grease.

Brake Hose Replacement at Becker Service Center

Any issue with your braking system needs to be addressed as soon as possible, but a broken brake hose is especially urgent. If you have any brake issues, Becker Service Center can help. Our conveniently located Naperville auto repair shop is staffed with ASE-Certified technicians. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!