How to Keep Your Cool

How to Keep Your Cool
This tips sheet is designed to be printed and kept in your vehicle's glove compartment. It provides information to help you choose when and whether to retrofit a vehicle air conditioner from CFC-12 to another refrigerant. The text from the tips sheet is provided here, but you may also either download and print the PDF version or call the hotline to order a paper copy.

Air conditioners in most motor vehicles manufactured before 1994 use a refrigerant called CFC-12, which is a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC). CFCs damage the ozone layer, which protects the earth from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. As a result, the United States and all other developed nations have agreed under an international treaty to ban the production of CFCs. While this ban does not mean you have to replace your air conditioner's refrigerant, you may want to discuss this option with your service technician if your air conditioner needs repairs. To accommodate an alternative refrigerant, your air conditioning system must be adapted or retrofitted. It may be more cost-effective to retrofit in conjunction with routine maintenance. You can ask your service technician the following questions to determine if your car uses CFC-12, and what you can do about it:

Does my air conditioner currently use CFC-12? Can you repair my air conditioner and recharge it with CFC-12?
How much will it cost if I choose to stay with CFC-12, now and in the future?
If I decide to change refrigerants, what other refrigerants are available?
What is involved in retrofitting my car?
How much will retrofitting my car cost, now and in the future?
Will a retrofit affect the performance of my air conditioning system?
If I need to repair the system in the future, will I be able to find the same refrigerant I used to replace the CFC-12?

All service technicians handling air conditioner refrigerants must be certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and should be able to answer all of your air conditioner repair questions. See below for more information on the connection between CFCs and the environment.