It looks like we’ll have to watch out for more than just melamine-tainted milk from China – your car’s air conditioning compressor might be dodgy as well! South Korea’s Joong Ang Daily carries a rather worrying report today – apparently a Mercedes-Benz owner complained about problems with his car’s air conditioning system after replacing his refrigerant just two months before.
Upon checking out the Mercedes-Benz’s engine bay, they found the air conditioning compressor covered with orange rust. An inspection by police later revealed that the refrigerant was dangerous and contained flammable chemicals, that could explode if it came into contact with something like a cigarette butt or something similar.
The refrigerant was found to contain chloromethane, a colorless gas which according to a South Korean police officer can cause an explosion even if it comes into contact with air. Other than the matter of the potential explosion risk, some other chemicals found in the refrigerant was found to be corrosive to iron, aluminum and rubber, a recipe for leaks.
South Korean police suspect that about 60,000 cars in South Korea contain the faulty refrigerant as it was sold in car centers in Seoul, Gyeonggi, Incheon and Busan. Police are advising car owners who recently replaced their refrigerant between April and June this year to get their cars checked as soon as possible.
An arrest warrant has been applied for the head of the company that imported the faulty refrigerant from China. The company sold a total of 41 tons of the 50 tons they brought in so far. Police have managed to confiscate 13 tons of the 41 tons sold so far, but 28 tons are ‘missing’ – they’re likely in the 60,000 cars!
Unfortunately Joong Ang’s story doesn’t name the source of the faulty refrigerant. But they did say that they believe it costs about 40% to 60% cheaper than ‘legit’ brands. I’m sure that South Korea is not the only country that the Chinese supplier sold the refrigerant to! Please be careful when refilling your car’s refrigerant no matter where you are!