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Ask the Master Auto Technician Dear James, I've been researching on best method of restoring my old R12 AC. I don't want to do an r134a retro since it has obvious problems such as being incompatible with mineral oil and grinding your compressor into scrap metal. I was thinking of just getting the leaking line replaced and having it charged with R12 (since your place does carry R12 and recommends it). But I ran across an article about a new refrigerant that is compatible with mineral oil, supposedly more efficient at removing heat than R12 and completely compatible with the older systems. So I figured I would ask you. Not sure if you covered it on your radio show, my schedule changed and I can't hear it as much as I used to. I like the older systems still. Too bad a newer R134a couldn't be retrofitted to use the old R12 or something better. BTW, my vehicle is a 1985 Buick Somerset Regal, 2.5L. You did a test drive on it before and some repair work. I trust your opinions on this the most and won't buy another car without your center going over it. And thanks for help eliminating the 20w50 heavier oil is better myth. Thanks, Daniel G.

Daniel, I have read the same articles that you have read about this "blend". The EPA rules are this: You must have specific designed Schrader valves for specific refrigerants. That is why the ones for 134A and R-12 look different. It is a violation of federal law for a shop to install this refrigerant without specific Schrader valves, which are specific for this refrigerant. The shop selling/installing this product must also have a dedicated recovery machine for this refrigerant. Most shops can't or won't pay for this added expense. The other reason I don't like to see this refrigerant used is due to it contaminating refrigerant recovery units when repair work is necessary. If our A/C identifier says it is anything other than R-12 or 134A we must classify it has "other”. (According to federal law and state law) And "other" is considered a hazardous waste and must be collected and disposed as such. And that is a different story by itself as well as expensive. My best advice is to fix it correctly using the correct repair procedures and the refrigerants made for your car A/C system. It’s cheaper in the long run, when you do it "right the first time!" Thanks for writing, James


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