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Cheap refrigerant gas poses fire risk, ATA says

ATA warns cheaper refrigerant gases have the potential to ignite in truck systems.


Some refrigeration gases could spell disaster for trucks, drivers, and operators, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) says.

The latest meeting of the ATA’s industry technical council found that cheaper hydrocarbon-based refrigerant gases were starting to be used in an after-market capacity to re-gas coolant and air conditioning systems.

But the flammable gases come with a much higher risk to those systems and the truck itself.

“Vehicle air-conditioning and refrigeration systems are designed to use specialised automotive refrigerant gases,” ATA senior adviser Chris Loose says.

“These manufacturer-endorsed products have a low fire risk, and newer products have been formulated to have a reduced environmental footprint.”

However, some after-market repairers will re-gas refrigeration systems using the cheaper, refrigerant gases, including M30.

“These hydrocarbon gases are highly flammable, and pose a significant safety risk in these systems. In one case, an Australian heavy vehicle driver suffered burns after the re-gassed air-conditioning system in his truck ignited,” Loose says.

The ATA recommends operators exercise extreme caution with low price re-gassing services, and ensure that all air-conditioning and refrigeration systems in their fleet use the manufacturer’s recommended refrigerant gas product.

“No matter the cost saving, these [other, hydrocarbon-based] gases are not worth the risk.”

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