What Type Of Freon Does My Car Take? – All You Need To Know

What type of freon does my car take is a common question among most motorists. It is essential to know the type of freon recommended for your car before recharging the air conditioning system.

This will help you stick to the manufacturer’s recommendation and prevent unnecessary damages that may arise when you use the wrong refrigerant for your car.

Here, we’ll discuss how to tell what type of freon your car uses, what happens if you recharge the wrong refrigerant, and other interesting matters. But first, let’s see what freon is.

what refrigerant is used in new cars

Freon and Its Rule Explained

Freon is a non-combustible gas that serves as a refrigerant in air conditioning systems. When you recharge your air conditioning system using freon, it undergoes evaporation cycling that helps to produce cool air inside the cabin. The freon is converted from a gaseous state to a liquid form during the evaporation process.

Several applications like heat pumps, air conditioning systems, pharmaceutical applications, aerosol propellants, and fire extinguishers use freon.

However, it is essential to note that freon is a type of refrigerant and not another name for refrigerants. But in this article, freon represents AC refrigerant in general. And there are different types of AC refrigerants. This explains why most people ask – what kind of refrigerant does my car take when recharging their AC system?

When motorists or car owners say they want to recharge their air conditioning system, they want to add refrigerant to the AC system for better cooling.

What type of freon does my car take?

Let’s first examine the types of refrigerant to better understand the right one for your car. We have three types of refrigerant for vehicles and other cooling or heating applications. They are as follows:

R-134a (HFC-134a)

The R-134a is a common refrigerant in most cars. So chances are your vehicle uses R-134a refrigerant. However, this type of refrigerant has been phased out due to its negative effect on our environment.

If your car is manufactured between 1995 and 2013, the vehicle likely requires an R-134a refrigerant. However, there’s a trick to determining if your vehicle uses R-134a refrigerant. The recharge hose for this refrigerant will not fit any other refrigerant recharge port. We published a simplified guide on how to put refrigerant in a car. Check it out if you are a DIYer.

R-1234yf (HFO-1234yf)

If your vehicle is manufactured between 2014 to present, the air conditioning system will likely use R-1234yf refrigerant. Like the R-134a, the R-1234yf recharge hose will not fit into older car models. This refrigerant is less harmful to the environment and is available in both online and offline auto parts stores.

R-12 (freon)

The R-12 is referred to as freon, the oldest refrigerant. This explains why most folks call all AC refrigerant freon. The R-12 was phased out in 1994 because it causes damage to the ozone layers. All cars manufactured before 1995 use freon. However, some motorists with freon AC refrigerant may have retrofitted it to R-134a.

Like R-1234yf and R-134a, the freon system recharge hose will not fit other refrigerant recharge ports. Fortunately, freon is still available in the market. So, you should retrofit the system to R-134a. But before doing that, check out this article that explains differences between R-134a and R-12 refrigerants.

Now, if you are asking – what refrigerant is used in new cars, the answer is R-1234yf. All new vehicles coming off the assembly line use R-1234yf. However, some models still use R-134a.

While the types of refrigerant or freon and the suitable car models they used is a pointer to knowing the refrigerant your car uses, there is a better and easiest way to know it. When wondering how do I know what type of freon I need, you need to tell that the best and easiest way to tell the right Freon for your car is to look at the nameplate under the hood.

Your car manufacturer specifies the suitable freon for the car on the nameplate. If, for any reason, you can’t find the nameplate under the hood, visit your car’s dealership. They should be able to provide you with this information.

For older air conditioning systems retrofitted, the only way to tell the current refrigerant in the system is by plugging in different refrigerant recharge ports. Only the correct refrigerant will fit in.

how to check freon in car

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Q: How do I know what kind of Freon my car AC needs?

As explained above, there are three common ways of knowing the type of freon a car uses. The first and easiest is to locate the air conditioning nameplate under the hood. The car manufacturers put this information there.

The second way is to determine the production year of your car. For example, freon is used on vehicles produced before 1995, and R-134a is suitable for cars manufactured between 1995 and 2013, while R-1234yf is recommended for vehicles produced from 2014 to present.

The third way of knowing the right ac refrigerant for your car is to socket different refrigerants on the AC recharge port. The fact that the recharge port is not universal and each refrigerant has a different recharge port make your task easier.

Q: Do all cars take R134a?

Most cars, especially the ones built from 1994 to 2013, use R134a refrigerant. Even some of the older car manufactured before 1994 has been retrofitted with R134a. This is because the r134a has low flammability, is safer, and is more environment-friendly than the R-12 (freon).

This, however, does not mean that every vehicle uses r134a. Some older vehicles still use R-12, while most newer models from 2014 to present use a more earth-friendly R1234yf refrigerant like the aforesaid one.

Q: What happens if you put the wrong Freon in your car?

As explained earlier, you cannot recharge the wrong refrigerant in a car because the ports will not match. However, if you achieve this by using an adapter, it’ll cause damage to the air conditioning system. So, if you don’t know the correct refrigerant for your car, refrain from using a DIY AC recharging kit that contains adapters.

Final Words

At this juncture, you’ll no longer ask what type of freon does my car take? On top of covering the key query, this article will help you determine the right type of freon to put in your vehicle coolant system.

Here is a quick recap! The air conditioning system nameplate tells the required freon for your vehicle. You can also know the needed freon by testing the refrigerant port to the recharge lines. The port will not fit the recharge lines if it’s not the correct refrigerant.

However, please remember; using the wrong freon will cause hazards or damage to the AC units. Therefore, you must get it right and refrain from buying a freon DIYer recharge kit with refrigerant line adapters. Because you cannot use Freon interchangeably among cars.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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