EPA Requires SAE Certified R-1234yf RRR Service Carts

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.