Tech Tips April 2012

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Counterfeit R134a Refrigerant – A Warning

Counterfeiting of R134a refrigerant we commonly use in vehicles heightened refrigerant purity fears to a new level because the primary contaminant is not only flammable but also toxic and explosive. As this practice of misrepresentation continues today, the contents of the counterfeit cylinders have changed, and the resulting damage from the use of this rogue refrigerant cocktail has become catastrophic for at least three families.

This fake gas will eat anything aluminium (the evaporator under your dash for example). It will then burst and fill the vehicle with a toxic mix that includes things like phosgene, hydrofluoric etc. It also has a habit of burning on contact with the air and spontaneously combusting so that a small leak will go ‘nuclear’ pretty quickly.

This counterfeit blend has been documented in automotive recovery tanks here in the U.S. The old adage is that if a price is too good to be true… probably isn’t. Paying attention to this could save your life.