Air conditioning systems on vehicles are Godsends. You can have the most awesome looking ride, a decked out interior, and a lot of other extras, but without functioning air conditioning, it won't be as comfortable a driving experience. Of the many components in that system, none is as vulnerable as the pipe that supplies the refrigerant that keeps things cool.
Fit is a catchall term that covers many factors that go into buying the right pipe. The most obvious aspects are the length and circumference of the pipe itself. While air conditioning is a fairly standard affair, between years, makes, and models, there are enough differences to make fit an important issue. Your best guides to fit are your owner's manual and the pipe you are planning to replace.
If you will notice, your pipe isn't a simple rubber tube. Attached to it is a twisted and curved metallic addition called a fitting. This part works exactly like a pipe-it allows refrigerant to flow through. The only reason it's metallic is to provide stability around the bends and corners that the entire length of the pipe has to pass through. This section has to match exactly to make the pipe effective.
Once you have the question of fit safely answered, it's important to look into the following factors that help to determine whether or not the pipe you will buy will last long or break down easily.
- Temperature-resistance: For the more vulnerable rubber tubing, a safe resistance range is between -40 degrees and +210 degrees Fahrenheit. Apart from cold-obviously-the a/c pipe is subjected to a lot of heat under the hood.
- Corrosion-resistance: Applicable to a small degree to the rubber section and more to the metallic fittings, corrosion-resistance-indicated by a label-is important because a lot of moisture and corrosive compounds abound in the engine block of your vehicle.
A matter of price
Price ranges for simpler fittings can go down as low as $35. The more complicated or branded ones can run as high as $160. It's really best not to be cheap on this-unless keeping cool is not your kind of thing, that is!