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The Evolution of Automotive Air Conditioning: A Journey of Innovation and Adaptation

By: Agnes Perez,

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Automobile air conditioning has been in my veins since I was born, as I am the daughter of an entrepreneur who developed a business in this industry. I have witnessed many changes throughout history. I especially remember the transition from R-12 to R-134a refrigerant, during which we had to guide and certify mechanics for the 609 certification. My father gave the lectures and certifications, and I was there helping to ensure everything went smoothly.

The Beginning

We must remember that automobile air conditioning was born around 1939 with the Packard brand, marking a milestone in the technological evolution of the automotive industry. Initially, cars did not have air conditioning, and having it was considered a luxury. However, over time, climate changes and industry evolution have made air conditioning a necessity. At first, this system was a luxury, but it evolved to the point where it could be turned on and adjusted from inside the vehicle. Can you imagine having to stop to turn on the air conditioning?

The automotive evolution has taken great strides in all its components; however, air conditioning, one could say, was one of the systems that changed later. Only about ten years ago, maybe a little more, these systems integrated with computers and became much more sophisticated than they were initially. Therefore, it is important to start familiarizing yourself with the other systems found in automobiles.

Evolution of Auto Air

I am going to mention changes that you might think, “No, that can’t be true!”, but here is one of the most significant. The capacity of refrigerant in air conditioning systems has been significantly reduced. In the 1990s, we could find systems with a minimum capacity of 0.7 kg (1.54 pounds) of refrigerant. Nowadays, it is common for the maximum amount of refrigerant used to be only 0.7 kg (0.88 pounds). This represents a significant reduction compared to previous decades.

This reduction is due to modifications, evolution in parts, and the change of refrigerant. We started with R-12, then moved to R-134a, and now we have R-1234yf. Who knows if in the future the refrigerant will change again. What we can assure is that modifications in parts and adjustments to comply with CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency) regulations have contributed to systems containing less refrigerant than before. These efficiency improvements are essential to meet environmental and fuel consumption standards.

Something you must keep in mind is that what was the norm in the 1990s is no longer the same today. Installation procedures in automobiles have changed, and it is crucial to be aware of what is going to be done and how it is going to be done. This is why constant learning about all the systems in vehicles is important.

Learn More

Remember that the cars of the future are already here, and it is important to know their technological evolution. I invite you to continue with me on these learning journeys so you can repair the systems and contribute to your continuous growth. Additionally, I hope to see you at the next conventions and training sessions to stay up to date.

Agnes Perez

Auto Air Parts of Puerto Rico

Agnes Perez


About Section 609


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