Auto Air Conditioning
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Frequently Asked Questions


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What is AIRCHEK?
Does AIRCHEK offer a warranty on repairs?
Can I buy parts from AIRCHEK and do the repairs myself?
I'm confused about which refrigerant to use in my vehicle. Which one is best?
I had my vehicle re-charged with a replacement refrigerant in one shop and the next shop I went to said they don't have the equipment to handle it. What do I do now?
My shop suggested I use a 'blend' refrigerant to save money. Is that a good idea?
How can I tell which refrigerant is in my vehicle?
Does the EPA require that all leaks in vehicle A/C systems be repaired?
Is a technician required to remove refrigerant added to a system for the purpose of leak detection?
Is it OK for a shop to add or 'top off' my A/C system with a refrigerant other than what is in my vehicle?
Shop 'A' says I need a compressor, and Shop 'B'  says I need a compressor and an evaporator because of a leak. Who should I believe?
Can I look at my A/C system and tell if it is leaking?
My shop claims finding refrigerant leaks is more difficult with the new HFC-134a refrigerant. Is that true? And what about dyes injected into the system to find leaks?
How do I know if a repair facility is qualified to repair my A/C system?

What is AIRCHEK?
We are an automotive air conditioning specialist. Our services include the repair and installation of air conditioning systems for all vehicles using the latest equipment and ASE certified technicians. We also sell a complete line of auto air conditioning parts wholesale and retail.

Does AIRCHEK offer a warranty on repairs?
Yes. We offer a One Year Warranty that is transferable to the new owner if you decide to sell or trade you vehicle. Please call or stop by for details.

Can I buy parts from AIRCHEK and do the repairs myself?
Yes. We can supply all the parts you need to do repairs on your own vehicle. In addition, we'll remove and hold your refrigerant as well as evacuate and re-charge your system at no charge when you purchase your parts from us.

I'm confused about which refrigerant to use in my vehicle. Which one is best?
There are only two refrigerants that are approved by all manufacturers for use in vehicle air conditioning systems. Freon? 12 (CFC-12) that was used prior to 1994 and the new replacement refrigerant, HFC-134a. Currently, HFC-134a is the only alternative to Freon? 12 listed as acceptable by EPA, which also has been fully tested and is specified by automakers in their guidelines. HFC-134a is the only replacement refrigerant approved for use at AIRCHEK® locations.
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I had my vehicle re-charged with a replacement refrigerant in one shop and the next shop I went to said they don't have the equipment to handle it. What do I do now?
The EPA requires all refrigerants to have unique fittings and equipment to avoid cross contamination. Since there is a multitude of aftermarket replacement refrigerants out there, it's not uncommon to find shops that don't have the equipment needed to service each one; the cost would be prohibitive. Currently, HFC-134a and Freon? 12 (CFC-12) are the only refrigerants that came as original equipment and are listed as acceptable by EPA, that have also been fully tested and specified by automakers in their guidelines. For now, the best thing to do would be to retrofit, or change back to, the widely accepted HFC-134a refrigerant, which will assure that the next air conditioning shop or dealership will have the proper equipment to service your air conditioning system. 
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My shop suggested I use a 'blend' refrigerant to save money. Is that a good idea?
Blend refrigerants tend to leak the blended ingredients at different rates, effectively reducing their ability to perform. In addition, because they are blends, 'topping off' the system isn't a good idea in that it changes the chemical composition and may cause your system not to cool or worse, damage it. It's best to stick with one of the manufacturer approved refrigerants, Freon? 12 (CFC-12) and HFC-134a to keep all warranties intact and avoid problems down the road. Remember, Freon? 12 and HFC-134a are the only refrigerants fully tested and specified by automakers in their guidelines.
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How can I tell which refrigerant is in my vehicle?
You or your service technician can check under the hood for a label that identifies the type of refrigerant that should be in your vehicle's A/C system and also to see if the system has been retrofit. However, with all the different replacement refrigerants being offered and sometimes used improperly, the only sure way is with a refrigerant identifier like the type we use at AIRCHEK. If your vehicle was manufactured prior to the 1993 model year, there is a good chance it is a Freon? 12 vehicle and not manufactured with the new replacement refrigerant, HFC-134a.
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Does the EPA require that all leaks in vehicle A/C systems be repaired?
The EPA has no requirement that leaks be repaired, although it recommends that vehicle owners consider repairing leaks to reduce emissions and extend the life of their air conditioner. If your system is leaking and you decide not to have it repaired, unless there is a state or local leak repair requirement, the technician may add refrigerant to the system. There is a requirement that any refrigerant added must be the same type that is in the system.
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Is a technician required to remove refrigerant added to a system for the purpose of leak detection?
The EPA doesn't require refrigerant added for the purpose of leak detection to be removed. However, if a technician adds refrigerant to a system and the refrigerant is then removed, it must be recovered or recycled and not released to the environment. Unless there is a state or local requirement to remove refrigerant from a leaking system, the leak detection charge may be left in the system at your request.
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Is it OK for a shop to add or 'top off' my A/C system with a refrigerant other than what is in my vehicle?
The EPA says: "No substitute refrigerant may be used to 'top off' an automotive A/C system, unless the original refrigerant has first been extracted in accordance with EPA regulations." Unfortunately, some shops make the mistake of 'topping off' with a refrigerant they think is in the system without first using a refrigerant identifier to make sure. The result of this is cross contamination and with that comes the real possibility of system damage. To be safe, always insist your system is checked with a refrigerant identifier before adding refrigerant.
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Shop 'A' says I need a compressor, and Shop 'B'  says I need a compressor and an evaporator because of a leak. Who should I believe?
If your compressor is defective and normal system pressures can't be obtained, there's a chance Shop 'A' wasn't able to find the leak in the evaporator. Or, they may have stopped checking when the defective compressor was found, thinking that was the only problem. Shop 'B' may have done a better job diagnosing the problem, perhaps using a checklist like we do at AIRCHEK
, and recommended a complete repair, your best choice in the long run. As for leaks, the best way to find one is with an electronic refrigerant leak detector. They make an audible sound when a leak is detected and the alert becomes louder or more persistent as the size of the leak increases. Most technicians won't mind if you watch while your system is checked for leaks so you can see for yourself.
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Can I look at my A/C system and tell if it is leaking?
The best way to detect refrigerant leaks is with an electronic leak detector. However, system lubricating oil is mixed with the refrigerant circulating in your system and any sign of oil on a system component could indicate a leak. Slight amounts of oil around the compressor clutch may be normal though, as oil in the system is used to lubricate the compressor shaft seal. Many leaks may not be accompanied by traces of oil and the only way to locate those is with a leak detector.
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My shop claims finding refrigerant leaks is more difficult with the new HFC-134a refrigerant. Is that true? And what about dyes injected into the system to find leaks?
Despite increases in electronic leak detector sensitivity, it is a lot tougher to find a HFC-134a leak. One of the reasons is that the new systems are very critical on accurate system charge so we're actually trying to find smaller and smaller leaks.  In many instances the leak originates from 'hidden' components requiring disassembly for reliable inspection and leak detection.

As for dyes injected into the system, the problem of 'hidden' components remains in that a visual inspection with ultra violet (UV) light is needed to find the leak. Even at that, it sometimes can take several days for the leak to show up requiring a return visit to the shop. Finally, the dye doesn't work for all leaks. System lubricating oil carries the dye so system oil must seep out for the dye to become apparent. A quality shop will always start with an electronic leak detector that meets the SAEJ1627 standard for heightened sensitivity - like the type we use at AIRCHEK® - for best leak detection results.
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How do I know if a repair facility is qualified to repair my A/C system?
Always use common sense, like a recommendation from a friend and checking with agencies like the Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce. Look for a clean, organized facility with modern equipment in the bays and vehicles equal in value to yours. Make sure the technicians are certified by ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) to do the type repairs needed on your vehicle. The best way to do that is to find a shop that specializes either in your type of vehicle or in the type of repair needed. Try not to pick a shop based on price alone; it's usually not the best deal in the long run.
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