There are still numerous vehicles on the market with air-conditioning systems originally designed for refrigerant R12. 2001 marked the official final end of R12 in vehicle air-conditioning systems. Ever since then, R12 systems had to be converted during maintenance or repair work. R134a was and is used as replacement refrigerant besides several "drop-in" refrigerants (refrigerant mixtures).
Even today, the conversion from R12 to R134a is still an ongoing topic in the area of classic and modern classic cars as well as in several non-EU countries.
In the course of conversion, the system must be checked for leak tightness. Leaks must be corrected beforehand. All components should be checked for function and damage. The filter dryer is to be replaced. Sealing rings should be replaced. In addition, the mineral oil of the R12 system is to be replaced with PAG or PAO oil. In the course of this replacement it is also recommended to flush the air-conditioning system.
R134a has a high GWP (global warming potential) of 1430. With the current EC Directive 2006/40/EC it was decided to only use refrigerants with a GWP of less than 150 in the future.
Air-conditioning systems in vehicles of class M1 (passenger cars, vehicles with up to 8 passenger seats) and class N1 (commercial vehicles with a permissible total weight of up to 3.5 metric tons) for which a type approval was issued within the EU as of January 1, 2011, can therefore no longer be filled with R134a. As of January 1, 2017, vehicles filled with R134a are no longer entitled to receive initial registration approval. R134a can, however, continue to be used to carry out service and maintenance work on existing R134a systems. R1234yf with a GWP of 4 shall be used as new refrigerant. Other refrigerants can also be used, however, provided their GWP value is below 150. Only in time will it become apparent if all vehicle manufacturers agree on a single refrigerant, or whether different refrigerants will be used.
This, of course, also impacts workshops and their service personnel. As such, it appears that purchasing new service units is something that cannot be avoided. Separate measures with respect to storing and handling the new refrigerants must certainly also be observed.
Which filling quantities apply to which vehicles? Our latest manual for refrigerant and oil filling quantities provides the answer for the most common vehicle types.