How To Identify If Your A/C Is Running On R134 Refrigerant

How To Identify If Your A/C Is Running On R134 Refrigerant?

A refrigerant can be defined as a substance or a mixture, usually a fluid that is used in a heat pump and the refrigeration cycle. Most automotive air conditioning systems are programmed to run on two types of refrigerant, that is, the R12 or the R134 type of refrigerant. It is however good to note that R12 air conditioning systems were used mostly in the older vehicle models and R134a is used in the newer vehicle models. So how then can one tell if their air conditioning system is running on R134a type of refrigerant? The following are some key ways to tell.

Year of Manufacture/Production of the Vehicle

It has been noted that most vehicles produced before the year 1995 were not using the R134a refrigerant but were using the R12 type of refrigerant. Therefore, one can identify if their air conditioning system is running on R134a refrigerant by knowing the year of production of their vehicles. Any vehicles produced after 1995, are considered new models, and therefore are running on R134a type of refrigerant.

Environmental Safety

The older models of vehicles were considered not to be environmentally friendly because of the type of refrigerant they used. Due to this, the R134a refrigerant was produced and termed environmentally secure and safe, as it does not deplete the ozone layer of the environment contrary to the R12 which was found to be a causal factor in depletion of the ozone layer.

Adapters & Charge Parts

This is also another feature that can be used in the identification of the R134a type of refrigeration in an automotive air conditioning system. R134a type of refrigerants has adapters located on the charge parts. This would also help one to identify quickly if their automotive air conditioning system is running on R134a type of refrigerant.

Seeking Mechanical Service & Advice

One can also use the help and advice of a mechanical technician to identify if their vehicle is running on R134a refrigerant. For these services, you have to visit a shop or a vehicle service center to have your vehicle examined, to determine the type of refrigerant that has been installed.

It is also prudent to note that one can also convert the model of refrigeration to R134a in case it was not initially installed in the vehicle. This can also be done by visiting the nearest car service center for the conversion to be done in a proper way.


R134a consists of a single component and is not blended as compared to R12 or R22 types of refrigerants. R134a is the only approved alternative refrigerant to retrofit R12 air conditioning systems in vehicles, that being its most common usage. R134a is considered better for the environment as it has insignificant effect on the ozone layer.


The above mentioned features can be used to identify if one’s air conditioning system is running on R134a refrigerant, but are not limited to these features alone. As we have noted, the R134a type of refrigerant is easy to identify and is the most pleasant to use as it is scientifically proven to be environmentally safe.