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Cool Runnin'

Whether your vehicle has manual air conditioner (A/C) or an automatic temperature control system, it is generations ahead of the A/C systems found in vehicles a decade ago. Both automatic and manual A/C systems use electronic controls and interact extensively with other vehicle systems. As a result, specific equipment is required to ensure proper diagnosis and service.

In addition, responding to environmental and legislative pressures, leading automakers have redesigned car, van and truck A/C systems to eliminate the use of R-12 (freon), which has been shown to cause damage to the earth's ozone layer.

Most '94 (and some '93) vehicle A/C systems operate using an "ozone friendly" new refrigerant called R-134a. Ask your local auto service professional which type of refrigerant is used in the vehicle you own or are considering buying.

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Don't worry, whether your car's A/C uses R-12 or R-134a, you'll still be able to stay cool on those hot summer days. That is, of course, as long as you keep it properly maintained. Since the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) outlawed the sale of R-12 in small containers, the days of topping off a car's A/C with a quick shot of freon are over.

"Oh great," you say. "What am I going to do now that I can't simply replace the R-12 that leaks out?" According to Bob Lanzendorf, Product Manager for Everco Industries, a leading supplier of A/C replacement products, the answer is simple. "Treat it like any other part of today's high-tech vehicle and have it serviced by a professional," he said. "Having your car's A/C maintained by experts lets you stay cool on the hottest summer days, while helping to safeguard our earth's fragile environment for future generations."

"So," you say, "how do I find out if an auto service facility can do the job right?" Just ask. Most service shops have invested in equipment and training to prepare their technicians to work on both R-12 and newer R-134a A/C systems. They will be glad to show you their credentials and explain system changes. You may even notice signs at local repair shops announcing "ozone friendly" A/C service and repairs.


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