Q: I need to get another A/C machine before the season starts. Someone told me that there is a machine that covers the old and new Freon. Would this be a good buy?
A: For those of us who were around for the R-12/R-134a changeover, this is an all-too familiar scenario. In my shop, I eventually purchased the combo R-12 (one side) and R-134a (other side) machine, which made life a little easier. I wasn't running around looking for the “other” dedicated unit.
So far, it appears that no machine exists for the R-134a/1234yf combo. But, there are other options. There are “mini” machines available for a fifth of the cost of their bigger cousins. This may be a good fit for your shop and budget for this new chemistry.
These units are compatible with all refrigerants. They may be a little more labor intensive — meaning you will have to do more than just press a button and walk away — but, easier on the wallet.
Q: My coworker got a drop light from the tool truck that attaches itself to the hood. It does make a big difference in how well you can see. So, I checked it out, and the price was out of my budget. How can they charge that just for a light?
A: Well, first of all, you need to see what's going on under the hood. That's priceless. If you find it easier to observe everything under the hood with a light, that should be a priority.
Every tool that makes our life and job easier is a needed device. But, like-kind tools can have different price tags. Remember: compare “apples-to-apples” when it comes to any tool — any product — for the best deal.
Pam Oakes is a retired, 20-year owner of nationally awarded automotive shop Pam's Motor City Automotive and Tires, an ASE-certified technician, automotive author, automotive speaker, automotive patent holder and host of "Car Care for the Clueless” Daily Edition, a syndicated radio talk show airing on dozens of stations coast-to-coast. And, yes, she still "turns wrenches"—but just for fun, nowadays.
Have an automotive service-related question for Pam Oakes? Email it to Tire Business Senior Reporter William Schertz at [email protected].