With the start of a new year comes expected change. 2021 is no different for the Automotive Service Technician with some finalized rules behind Motor Vehicle Air Conditioning (MVAC) service. The EPA, under the direction of Administrator Wheeler, signed a final rule entitled, “Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Motor Vehicle Air Conditioning Systems Servicing”, on Monday, January 11, 2021.
Under this new ruling, any person repairing or servicing an R-1234yf MVAC system for consideration, “compensation”, must use properly certified Refrigerant Recovery and Recycling (RRR) equipment, meeting SAE J2843, J2851, and J3030 standards. These new SAE standards create safety requirements for R-1234yf RRR service carts, due to the slight flammability of R-1234yf refrigerant.
Technicians who have previously serviced R-134a equipped vehicles need to be aware of new safety requirements, such as new A/C service cart features, refrigerant identification standards, as well as a vacuum decay test.
A/C service carts are now equipped with anti-arcing switches, motors and solenoids, and a process of venting the interior of a cart to remove refrigerant vapors that might otherwise accumulate.
Refrigerant identification is now a requirement, and the refrigerant identifier used must meet SAE J2927 or J2912 standards and is either embedded in the RRR machine, or capable of communicating remotely to a certified cart to confirm the quality of refrigerant before recovery is allowed. Contaminated refrigerant can negatively affect the integrity of the A/C system and the identifier ensures cross-contamination will not occur during the service process. Any contaminated refrigerant detected will require the use of a separate SAE J2851 machine, which is designed to recover mixed refrigerant.
Vacuum decay test is yet another new requirement. This standard must be complete at the end of the service to ensure no gross system leaks have occurred. This test allows 15% recharge to confirm no refrigerant leaks are occurring in the passenger cabin.
With the final ruling, any technician completing R-1234yf MVAC service for consideration will need new equipment to adhere to the EPA 609 requirements. Any technician in violation of this requirement can face upwards of $42,000 in fines. There are roughly 52 Million vehicles now equipped with R-1234yf in North America, and approximately 26 Million are expected to fall outside the manufacturer’s warranty in 2021. Technicians are sure to see increased demand for R-1234yf MVAC service in 2021 and will need to ensure they have the proper equipment to meet these affirmed EPA requirements.
Technicians interested in servicing R-1234yf vehicles can use the SAE website (macdb.sae.org), to ensure the A/C service equipment they are considering is certified to the required standards. Selecting the SAE standard and using the search function will allow any user to easily confirm which manufacturers are certified.
Bacharach’s Neutronics Brand of Refrigerant Identifiers is the trusted solution for all refrigerant identifier needs. The Legend Series refrigerant analyzers are the latest handheld devices that provide a solution for all automotive refrigerants, both past, and present. Be sure to start your year off right with certified equipment to begin offering R-1234yf service this spring.
Find out more about SAE Certified Refrigerant Analyzers