Why Do We Use R1234yf Refrigerant? In short, the answer is to save the ozone layer!

It’s critical that you use the right refrigerant in your vehicle’s car ac system, otherwise, you risk damaging your engine. For many new cars in the US- and all new cars in the EU- R-1234yf is the refrigerant you’ll need to use. Vehicle model years after 2021 will most likely use R-1234yf, although there has been some regulatory sluggishness in implementation so this is not necessarily the case in all vehicles distributed in the US. European drivers, however, will not have any such confusion.


Ironically, R-1234yf was chosen in part for its many similarities to R-134a. Although it wasn’t necessary to reinvent the wheel, specific performance enhancements in specific systems lend themselves to R-1234yf instead. However, the core benefit of R1234yf- and the primary reason for the switch, too- is that it’s vastly better for the environment. See, the reason we started using R134a is that its predecessor, R12, aka “freon,” was horrible for the environment and the Ozone layer due to releasing chlorine gas into the atmosphere. So we switched to R134a, but it turns out it’s not that great on the Ozone layer either, so we’re moving on to something that’s much the same, just much less harmful, R1234yf.


Some of the downsides to the switch include the need for certification to purchase it (section 609 with the EPA). Another note is that R-1234yf is mildly flammable, which scares some people. However, this is a bit of a moot point considering cars always also contain gasoline which is also volatile, but it is a fantastic quality for those who feel they can never be too safe. Additionally, it was pretty expensive. A 10lb cylinder of R134a can run just over $203, while R-1234yf can run as high as $500 for the same amount. And servicing requires new machines to extract and recycle refrigerant for coolant and fluid repairs.


Progress plods ahead like an old donkey, and sometimes keeping it going is a pain in the “ass” (pun intended). If you don’t appreciate the sweltering summer heat right now, you can see the benefit of taking care of the environment now before it gets worse than this. And if you don’t care about that, care about your engine; it’ll keep it more relaxed and better and reduce the risk of damage. Much of this information came from RefrigerationHQ.com, and if you’d like to read further about the performance of car ac specifications of R1234yf.



Buddy Rausch

Buddy Rausch

Buddy started his auto career journey at Butte College and started his own auto repair company in 2007. Since then he has worked on countless cars, diagnosing, repairing, and replacing worn, faulty, and broken parts.

After a few years, he moved to a bigger shop to accommodate his growth and to better serve the Chico, CA community. It’s a family-owned & operated business.

Outside of work Buddy enjoys spending time with his family and playing softball is one of his many passions.

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