Hybrid Vehicle Aircon System: What you need to know when servicing it
Updated: Sep 9, 2020
Most newer hybrid vehicles have moved to an electric compressor powered by AC voltage and away from the traditional vehicle’s power supply system.
The biggest difference to look out for is perhaps the type of oil used in the system. Conventional A/C systems typically use PAG oil and hybrid vehicles require a special polyester (POE) type oil. These oils have high dielectric properties, that are designed to lubricate the compressor whilst protecting its electrical windings.
Just as little as one percent of PAG oil in a hybrid system can affect the dielectric properties, reducing the insulation and causing damage to your compressor. It can also conduct high voltage to the compressor housing and connected components, causing harmful and potentially lethal shock to anyone coming into contact with it.
Every hybrid vehicle owner has to ensure the workshop they visit uses the correct type of oil and a separate recharging machine. A recharging station used for conventional A/C systems in petrol vehicles should not be used on hybrid vehicles. This is because residual PAG oil may still be present which would inadvertently be introduced into your hybrid vehicle during recharging. Vehicle manufacturers recommend that all system components are to be replaced if cross contamination of the oil has occurred in a hybrid vehicle. This may potentially result in very costly repairs.
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