What Happens if Your Vehicle’s Air Conditioning System is Low on Coolant/Refrigerant?—First Tire & Automotive

Schedule Service

What Happens if Your Vehicle’s Air Conditioning System is Low on Coolant/Refrigerant?—First Tire & Automotive

A Threat to Your Summer Comfort

Most drivers want to be able to stay cool in summer. For many, it’s about comfort, but for some, it’s a medical necessity. If your vehicle is low on coolant, the refrigerant it needs to operate, your car’s air conditioning system may not work or may blow nothing more than warm air. Before you get caught in the heat of summer with a poorly functioning cooling mechanism, bring your vehicle to First Tire & Automotive in the Greatwood area of Sugar Land, Texas, for expert auto AC repair.

About Your AC

An overview of your car’s AC system will help explain the importance of the coolant. The system operates using a gas refrigerant which is then forced to become a liquid by the compressor. This pressurized liquid is forced through hoses toward the condenser which is located on the high pressure side of the system. There, it is cooled in a manner reminiscent of the way a radiator works. The coolant then moves through an expansion valve or orifice tube (depending upon how your vehicle’s system is made) to the evaporator core on the low pressure side of the system. Now, the refrigerant is once again in a gaseous state. The gas absorbs heat from the air that’s passing between the evaporator fins. Cool air enters your passenger area through the vents, and the warm refrigerant goes back to the condenser to start the cycle over.

About Refrigerant/Coolant

Currently, it’s possible that your transportation could have one of three kinds of coolant/refrigerant. We are in a transition period, and what you have depends on the car’s age and how long it has been since your system was repaired. Each kind does the same job but is different in the following ways.

  • Until 1994, R12 was the industry standard. Afterward, it could no longer be used in new cars sold in this country. Also called Freon-12 or just Freon, Dichlorodifluoromethane damages the earth’s ozone layer. As aging autos needed service and coolant replacement in their AC systems, they were refilled with a newer, less harmful variety.
  • R134a replaced the ozone-killing variety and is likely what’s currently in your system. It’s less damaging to the environment, but it’s not completely harmless. After 2021, it will also be pulled from the market.
  • R1234rf is the preferred replacement because it more quickly breaks down in the atmosphere. Some manufacturers have already started using this on new models, but all will have to switch soon.

For help with this and all auto AC repair, visit First Tire & Automotive.