Using this environmentally friendly refrigerant

Refrigerant is an essential product used in vehicle air conditioning systems. But, up until recently, refrigerants contained hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) compounds. HFCs generally have a high Global Warming Potential (GWP). In order to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, the Australian government began a phase-down of HFC refrigerants in January 2018, with an aim to reach an 85 per cent reduction in 2036.

Now, the automotive industry is using an alternate refrigerant which is better for the environment. HFO-1234yf refrigerant is made up of hydrofluoroolefin — a compound with a GWP of less than 1. It’s already popular in the US and Europe, and is soon to become the primary refrigerant used in Australia. But your vehicle needs to be equipped to handle the new refrigerant. Read on to find out how.

At Natrad, we have all the cooling systems to get your vehicle AC serviced with HFO-1234yf. Contact our customer service team to find out more.

What refrigerant does my car use if not HFO-1234yf?

Since the 80s, there have been laws surrounding ozone-depleting gases in Australia. Refrigerant gases which contribute to ozone depletion include:

  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC): R11, R12, R115
  • Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC): R22, R123, R124
  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC): R32, R134a, R125, R143a, R152a
  • Perfluorocarbons (PFC): R23, R218

The predominant refrigerant used in cooling systems in vehicles in Australia contains hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). These products have high Ozone Depleting Potential (ODP) and GWP. The industry standard automotive refrigerant, up until a few years ago, was RF134a.

Pros and cons of HFO-1234yf and the new equipment used for servicing?

This innovative refrigerant is now found around Australia as newer vehicles designed to use this gas have become more common. However, like most things, there are positive and negatives. Let’s see what they are:


  • Lower GWP than that of other refrigerants previously used in the industry
  • Recovers 95 per cent of refrigerant in the system
  • Will not allow recovery of contaminated refrigerant
  • Will not recharge if leaks are detected
  • More efficient


  • Slightly more expensive
  • Mildly flammable — but according to the SAE, it’s safe for use

What equipment do I need to handle HFO-1234yf?

To legally handle this and many other refrigerants, you must be qualified and hold the appropriate refrigerant handling licence (AAC02 for air conditioning fitted to the cabin of a motor vehicle). The tools you need to handle HFO-1234yf need to be ‘ignition proof’. This means that the system is manufactured so that the defined hydrocarbon mixture surrounding the device won’t ignite if a spark or heat source touches it.

You’ll need a range of equipment to ensure your vehicle is ready to use the new refrigerant, such as:

  • Halogen leak detectors
  • Service hoses
  • Oil injectors
  • Valve core kits
  • Refrigerant identifiers

You can find all of the above, and more, at a Natrad store near you.

Is HFO-1234yf compatible with existing equipment?

Unfortunately, it’s not. You’ll need different equipment to use the new, environmentally friendly refrigerant. The service couplers used to access the HFO-1234yf refrigerant circuit are a different size to those used in R1234A systems.

The service coupler also has a thread on the left-hand side that requires a matching hose, so you’ll need a specific HFO-1234yf gauge set.

Where can I buy HFO-1234yf refrigerant?

At Natrad, we can arrange to recharge your vehicle’s air conditioning system with HFO-1234yf refigerant. To find out more about this product, get in touch with our customer service team. Or, nip into your nearest Natrad store!

Can I still access old refrigerants?

You can continue to use a vehicle that is not equipped to handle the new refrigerant. However, older refrigerants are becoming harder to obtain as they are phased out, which can increase the time and cost involved. You can still service your car with refrigerants like:

  • R12
  • R22
  • R134a
  • R410a

Older makes and models of cars may not be compatible with the new air conditioning systems, so converting the system with new parts to suit modern refrigerants may need to be considered.

Why choose Natrad?

We have the largest network of workshops specialising in engine cooling and air conditioning in Australia. Not only that, but we:

  • Are Australia’s most trusted company in automotive heating and cooling
  • Offer 3-year nationwide warranties on selected cooling system repairs
  • Have access to a huge range of parts and products to fully equip your vehicle, so it’s ready to receive HFO-1234yf refrigerant

We all want to help make Australia a more environmentally friendly place to live. Nip into Natrad and check out the cooling systems you might need to service your car with HFO-1234yf.