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Your A/C season supply list

By Richard Hawkins, MACS contributor

Temperatures are on the rise, with that increase in temperatures, there is an uptick in the number of vehicles coming into shops for A/C service work.

In anticipation of this, service shops are gearing up by replenishing their A/C supplies. These supplies include items such as refrigerant, O-rings and sealing washers, flush and refrigerant oil. 

Unfortunately, something that is often absent from these A/C shopping lists is vacuum pump oil, and multiple containers of it should be included.

This is because vacuum pumps require frequent oil changes to insure maximum efficiency and longevity.  Unfortunately, vacuum pumps are one of the most neglected pieces of equipment in shops.  With refrigerant recovery machines having built in vacuum pumps and displays which might indicate when vacuum pump oil needs to be changed, this situation has improved over recent years.  However, just because the display on a machine indicates the need for changing the vacuum pump oil does not mean it is going to happen.  Also, there are repair shops that use stand-alone vacuum pumps and of course there is nothing associated with them that provides a reminder.

Photo courtesy of Robinair

To illustrate this, I will describe an experience I often encountered in numerous clinics from over the years.  Without any discussion or prelude to it, there would be a slide in the presentation that would pop up with a picture of a vacuum pump and a container of vacuum pump oil beside it.  At the top of the slide would be the heading:  WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOUR VACUUM PUMP OIL WAS CHANGED?  Please see the picture below.

Picture:  The slide referenced above.

As soon as the slide appeared on the screen, I would ask that question:  When was the last time your vacuum pump oil was changed?  It was always interesting to see the reactions. There would usually be smiles accompanied by folks shaking their heads a bit. Often, someone would turn to the person beside them and say something.  It was sometimes possible to read their lips and they were often saying things like: “That’s a good question.” “It has been a long time.” “I am not sure.” “Or, I do not think I have ever changed it.”

Photo courtesy of Ritchie Engineering

Then there would sometimes be that comedian in the group that would say: “I changed it this afternoon before coming to the clinic because I figured you were going to ask that question.”  Do I win a door prize for that?  My reply would be something like: “I think you are spoofing me, but here’s a door prize for providing a good laugh (if there was one available to give away).”  From all the reactions, it was obvious that there were numerous vacuum pumps represented that needed oil changes.

On a more serious note, without exception, whoever had held the clinic would report being inundated with orders for vacuum pump oil the next day.  They would also usually have to order more in to fill all the orders.  It is likely that readers of this article will have the same response as the clinic attendees if they ask themselves that question.   So, treat your vacuum pump to an oil change and order some extra containers for additional oil changes in the future.  It will improve your pump’s efficiency and extend its life too.

Next week we will dig further into this subject and provide information on the oil change intervals, the need for them and details on the benefits.

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One response to “Your A/C season supply list”

  1. Thomas Lech says:

    Another item that is the absolute most important item for your shop as the cooling season approaches.

    Education, training, knowledge to actually know how to use the equipment properly that you have purchased.

    The majority of shops out there have equipment but no knowledge just because they get cold air blowing out of the dash does not mean they performed the job correctly or properly or efficiently causing further damage to the compressor or loss of capacity by actually not knowing how to properly perform procedures

    RTFM

    And no attending a one day seminar and getting a EPA card is not included as knowledge or competence

    And LEARING BY BURNING 🔥 Customers compressors is not included in a learning process

    “I didn’t know !”. is no excuse