Rodney Smith from CoolCar Air-Conditioning Centre Hamilton conducted a mini survey on New Zealand-new cars displayed at the New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays near Hamilton in June 2015.
He wanted to get a feel for what refrigerant was in the air-conditioning of the latest cars and talk to the sales staff on the stands. A similar review last year showed all vehicles were R134a.
Toyota, Suzuki, Land Rover, Skoda, Futon, Ford, Holden, VW, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Kia, Peugeot, Ssangyong, Mahindra, Isuzu utes and trucks and UD trucks were on display this year. The truck brands displayed did not have their cabs over so were unable to be inspected.
Almost everyone on the stands spoken to knew a bit about R1234yf refrigerant but most did not know their company’s status on its introduction into New Zealand-new models however some thought their companies were actively trying to keep it out of their fleet (VW, Holden, Opel Astra).
Many vehicles had no refrigerant labelling displayed.
Two 2015 Suzuki Vitaras had R1234yf. One car was clearly labelled as R1234yf. Another identical car was unlabelled but appeared to be otherwise identical with an identical low side service port.
The high side ports could not be easily pictured due to their position. Any compressor labelling was not visible due to compressor position. The sales person explained the vehicles were from Hungary and was surprised one was unlabelled.
He said that vehicle would therefore not be available for sale in NZ as non-compliant. He was interested in providing feedback to his managers that refrigerant to repair this vehicle was not currently known to be available in NZ.
A VASA member workshop from Auckland recovered refrigerant from a New Zealand-new 2015 Nissan Qashqai so the franchise dealer could carry out a non-air-conditioning-related repair. The refrigerant was recovered using R134a recovery equipment because the vehicle had R134a service ports.
At recharging time, technicians noted an R1234yf bonnet label so analysed the recovery cylinder. Analysis of the recovery cylinder shows previously recovered R134a mixed with R1234yf which came from this vehicle. The compressor was inspected and a label showed it was compatible with R134a and R1234yf.
A review of three sub models of J11 2015 Nissan Qashqai in Hamilton showed all were labelled R134a and service ports accommodated R134a service couplers.
Parallel imported vehicles from Europe are on sale second hand in New Zealand with R1234yf air-conditioning. Among them have been Porsche, Maserati and Range Rover.
Several of these vehicles have had accident damage and the repair of all of these vehicles, including the NZ-new Nissan, has proved problematic without access to the approved refrigerant. In one case it was reported relevant refrigerant labelling was discarded with the damaged bonnet.