MACS Live Chat (John Duerr & Steve Schaeber discuss A/C Leak Detection Tracer dye & COVID-19 in NYC)

Hi everyone, and welcome to another MACS Live Chat, hosted by Steve Schaeber, manager of service training and technical editor for MACS publications like ACtion Magazine and the MSR (MACS Service Reports).

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This live chat features John Duerr, Director of Product Development at Spectronics Corporation in Westbury, New York. Better known to MACS members as “TRACER PRODUCTS”, Spectronics is the world’s leading manufacturer of ultraviolet equipment and fluorescent dyes, producing cutting-edge, high-quality UV lamps, dyes, and diagnostic tools for the mobile air conditioning industry. John is also an active member of MACS and SAE, the Society of Automotive Engineers, volunteering on the Interior Climate Control Standards Committee.

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MACS talks to GDP’s Julian Hentze about mobile A/C parts, repair and more!

MACS Live Chat (Julian Hentze and Steve Schaeber discuss COVID-19, GPD and the Mobile A/C industry)

Hello, and Welcome to MACS Worldwide’s YouTube Channel. We’re glad you’re here! Hi everyone, and welcome to another MACS Live Chat, hosted by Steve Schaeber, manager of service training and technical editor for MACS publications like ACtion Magazine and the MSR (MACS Service Reports). This live chat features Julian Hentze, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at GPD (Global Parts Distributors) in Macon, Georgia. GPD is a leading national brand of aftermarket air conditioning system products with six locations across the US, servicng not just automotive and light trucks, but also heavy-duty vehicles as well. And they also have a wide variety of tech tips, product announcements, tools, videos, and more on their website which I refer to often.

Posted in #1234yf, Automotive, Automotive training, MACS Member, Mobile Air Conditioning, Refrigerants, Training, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stop complaining about the technician shortage…


By Elvis Hoffpauir C.O.O. MACS Worldwide

That was the principal message from Peter Meier, Director of Training at Motor Age. Peter, along with MACS Technical Advisor Ward Atkinson, joined moderator Steve Schaeber, Technical Editor and Manager of Service Training for MACS for a panel discussion on the subject during the recent MACS Training Event and Trade Show in Nashville.
Open almost any automotive trade publication over the span of the last 20 years, and you’re likely to find an article bemoaning the shortage of technicians. Such articles are usually long on “bemoaning” and short on solutions.
Peter made the point that it was time to quit waiting for someone or something to provide the solution, and for each shop owner to take the initiative in his or her own little corner of the world. “How many of you participate in your communities’ technical education programs? How many of you serve on advisory counsels for local training efforts?” Meier challenged. “It’s up to all of us in this room to address the need.”

Panelist Ward Atkinson introduced the MACS audience to the SAE Foundation and its mission to encourage and increase student achievement and participation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to build a STEM-fluent workforce. Funds raised by the SAE Foundation support SAE International’s award-winning A World In Motion® (AWIM) program, Collegiate Design SeriesTM (CDS), awards and scholarships. Atkinson is one of the many industry leaders who have served as formal mentors and industry volunteers for AWIM and CDS students.
SAE’s STEM education programs enable students to develop the 21st century skills needed to succeed in real-world work environments and connect classroom learning with real-life application. SAE’s STEM programs have reached more than 6 million students worldwide and engaged more than 30,000 STEM industry professionals as volunteers. SAE International is a global association comprised nearly 200,000 engineers, technical experts and volunteers to advance mobility knowledge and solutions for the benefit of humanity.

“Building a STEM-fluent workforce can only be accomplished when all of us work together toward a single goal—filling the pipeline with students who have the experience and competency the industry requires,” said Lori Gatmaitan, SAE Foundation Director. “With our local partners, we place industry volunteers in classrooms to empower teachers with the critical resources they need to impact tangible and systemic change. AWIM and CDS provide students in all communities a pathway to STEM careers.”
SAE is the only organization with a comprehensive continuum of “Pre-K through College” Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education programs.
By supporting these programs, along with SAE’s graduate and undergraduate scholarships and prestigious awards, the SAE Foundation continues to inspire the next generation of innovators.
Readers can learn more, by subscribing to the SAE Foundation quarterly newsletter at: (subscription form is located near the bottom of the page when you scroll down). Here is the general email and phone: (724) 772-8508,

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Helpful tactics to minimize the spread of Covid-19 in your service and repair shop

By Bill Snow, Radair Complete Car Care, Cleveland, OH

With today’s concern about being exposed to COVID-19 shop owners need to take additional steps to protect their team members and their clients.  In states that have issued a stay at home order, automotive repair businesses are deemed essential and many have decided to remain open to provide services to their customers, many of which are first responders and health care workers.


Here are some helpful tactics to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19.

  1. Offer pick-up and drop off service so that customers don’t have to come to your location.  Set some boundaries about time of day and how far you are willing to travel to get cars.  While you don’t have to advertise those boundaries, it’s good to know them so that you can best manage your workload and workflow.
  2. Promote and utilize your night drop box as an anytime drop box.  Many shops are seeing success using the night drop box as another way to offer a touchless experience.  After your customer pays, place the keys in their vehicle with the invoice.
  3. Close off or restrict your waiting room.  Drop off only.
  4. Have your team disinfect all customer reception area surfaces, bathrooms, and door handles multiple times per day.
  5. After your service advisor has checked in the car, have them disinfect all touch points, steering wheel, door handles, levers and gear shift knob.  Also, install disposable seat covers and floor mats.  Customers should only leave you with the vehicle key and clean it before your technician touches it.
  6. Require that your staff and technicians wear disposable gloves while at the shop and require that they change their gloves in between the inspection and repair of each vehicle. Gloves should be disposed of once they are used (do NOT reuse disposable gloves).
  7. Upon arrival each day, employee’s body temperatures should be taken and recorded.  Anyone with an elevated temperature or any signs of sickness should be sent home.
  8. If your shop provides loaner cars, make sure that they are disinfected before your customer takes them.  Your loaner cars reflect your business!
  9. Develop a note that can left behind in the car that states every precaution you took to ensure safety.  You can even ask for a referral!
  10. Prior to your customer picking up their vehicle, disinfect everything again.


Taking these steps will not only help your team and your customers reduce the risk of being exposed to the virus, but it will also help you stand out as a shop that cares.  During these uncertain times it’s our time to shine and show our communities that we are here to help.

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How do I replace my MACS Section 609 credentials?

If you obtained your Section 609 certification credentials from IMACA or the Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide they can be replaced for $10.

Visit this link on the MACS website and follow the procedure for replacing your credentials. We must know your full name, where you worked and what city you lived in when you were certified, all this information helps the staff locate your record.

For more information you can call the MACS office Monday through Friday from 8:30am-5pm at 215-631-7020 x 313, 309 or 305.

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The June issue of ACtion magazine is out!

By Dave Hobbs, MACS Technical Correspondent

Name That Hybrid Water Pump

While virtually every HEV (hybrid electric vehicle) has an ICE (internal combustion engine) along with one or more high voltage electric motors, not every one of them circulates the coolant in their engines the same way. Take Toyota for example. Up until its Prius line started using a 12-volt electric water pump (Figure 1) in 2010 and newer (Generation III) models, their little belt-driven water pumps (Figure 2) were prone to wear out around 120,000 miles. You’d hear a little rattle, then it would get a little louder, and before you knew it your customer’s water pump drive belt was almost shredded into smithereens. Call the parts store, and get a replacement water pump on the way to your shop, right?

Not so fast! When you call or go online seeking a new water pump, make sure you know what to order. (Read More)

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By Neal Kwort, MACS Technical Correspondent


As you know, engines have to be warm to run efficiently for drivability, emissions and fuel economy. But why is this necessary? It’s got to do with the volatility (the capability of fuel to evaporate) of gasoline. Liquid gasoline won’t burn. It has to be in vapor form. If not in vapor form, the gasoline simply exits the engine the same way it came in: as potential energy. Without combustion, potential energy doesn’t get converted to heat energy. That means it doesn’t contribute to power. This compromises drivability, raises emissions and lowers fuel economy. So, when atomized gasoline is running through cold engine components, fuel drops out and is wasted. Modern engines are less susceptible to these issues, because fuel is injected at the intake ports or directly into the combustion chambers, but they still exist to a lesser degree.

The thermostat is the component that allows the engine to warm-up. You may have heard that the thermostat regulates engine temperature. That’s actually not true. What the thermostat does is keep the engine at a minimum temperature. What regulates the temperature is a combination of the thermostat on the low side and the cooling fan on the high side. The cooling fan is the device that keeps the engine from getting too hot. The thermostat begins to open and allow coolant to flow at a minimum temperature, typically 195°F. If working properly, once the coolant reaches that temperature, it won’t drop below it. Yet the thermostat does nothing to keep the coolant from going above 195°F. In fact, nothing in the cooling system does. But if the coolant temperature reaches its high threshold, the cooling fan comes on, typically at 225°F. (Read more)

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‘OK, Alexa. Find a repair shop nearby’

By Angie Chabot, AAM

Do you use voice-enabled commands on your phone? Do you have a smart device in your home? According to the latest editions of NPR and Edison’s Research’s “Smart Audio Report,” more than 60 million people in the United States over age 18 owned at least one smart speaker by the end of 2019. Even more interesting is the fact that households with a smart speaker actually own an average of 2.6 devices — making a total of 157 million smart speaker devices in use.
Other research shows that by the end of 2020, approximately half of the searches done on the Internet will be made via voice. Currently, approximately 41 percent of adults use voice search at least once a day.

Ease of use is the obvious draw for anyone searching: instead of typing, you simply speak to your device to find what you want. Which brings us to your business’s website. Is your website optimized for this next tsunami of search? If not, what are you waiting for?

Google Prefers Voice
Search behemoth Google is encouraging web designers and developers to optimize sites for voice search, so it only stands to reason that its search algorithm will soon be giving preference to sites that have adopted voice search standards. Understand that when someone uses voice search, only one result comes back for the query — something experts are calling “position zero.” Your mission is to ensure your business’s website gains that coveted position zero spot in your market. (read more)

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Tracking yf

By Steve Schaeber

February 7th was Media Day at the Philadelphia Auto Show, which is a great opportunity for MACS to find out what’s going on with new model vehicle HVAC systems. Overall, we inspected more than 160 new cars and trucks, and as expected the majority are now using R-1234yf refrigerant. We saw just about every major OE, but three brands were surprisingly not on display. They were BMW, Mitsubishi and Daimler / Mercedes Benz.
Like last year, some of the OEs have completed their changeover (FCA, Genesis, JLR) with Honda being the latest to go all-yf. Still, some have not changed at all, such as Infinity and Mazda (and we assume MB, had we been able to check).
Because so many vehicles are using yf this year, we’re thinking that 2021 might be the first year we’re hunting for R-134a, instead of the other way around! At this show alone we surveyed 179 models and 135 of those contained R-1234yf (or about 75%).
Further breaking down the numbers, based on published sales data for the United States, this is what we see as the trend for OEM’s that have converted to R-1234yf. In 2018, we estimate that just over 10 million vehicles were sold in the United States with R-1234yf as the refrigerant. In 2019, this number jumped to more than 13 million, a 30% increase. This means that in 2019 almost 80% of the vehicles sold in the United States contained R-1234yf. (read more)


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MACS 2020: Products, services and industry trends

By Paul Weissler

As any car dealer can tell you, the sales of conventional automobiles have been plummeting for the last several years, and the market has shifted to SUVs and trucks. At the same time, air conditioning service has expanded from cars and trucks to off-road equipment, including agricultural tractors; construction, forestry and mining equipment; and a range of utility vehicles, particularly those in commercial use. The MACS training event trade show, preceded by a meeting of the SAE Interior Climate Control Committee, clearly reflected these trends. And, it gave attendees an overall, multi-faceted preview into both the trends and the products that will tie into significant opportunities for the climate control service market.
The attendees who walked up and down aisles of the MACS trade show saw examples of numerous product lines. Add in commodities that cover commercial utility vehicles, such as ambulances, and it should be apparent there’s a huge market for our shops that want to participate.
Heavy-duty trucks have long been a market for no-idle packages, typically add-ons, that allow engine-off operation of the A/C for sleeper compartments. Typically installed by truck dealers, truck service specialists and A/C shops, they include battery packs or, in some cases, use small diesel engines, which adds the functionality of heating the compartment in cold weather. Bergstrom Inc., a leading manufacturer in the field, with its NITE No-Idle line of battery-powered systems, exhibited a novel new member of the line, the eCOOLPARK, which received the trade show award for best use of technology.
The electric A/C permits a more limited, but still appealing, ability to operate the A/C with the engine off. In many cases, all that is required is the existing 12-volt or 24-volt battery, although additional battery capacity can be installed. Bergstrom also offers solar panel arrays in various configurations that can be installed to augment the battery and charging system. (for more click here)



Bergstrom showed its eCOOLPACK, the newest addition to its NITE No-Idle line of equipment. It enables turning off the engine for short durations, permitting the cargo area to be unloaded while A/C operation in the cab is maintained. This makes it especially suitable for urban/suburban package delivery. In most cases, the vehicle battery provides sufficient power for the engine-off A/C operation, but an additional battery can be installed if necessary. A fuel-fired heater is available for cold weather use. Photo: Paul Weissler


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MACS petitions Federal Agencies for cabin cleaning guidelines

April 28, 2020 (Lansdale, PA) The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide has sent a letter to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to petition these agencies to commit to uniform standards for automotive repair service shops for sanitizing the cabins of vehicles.

The letter explains, “It is estimated in 2020 there are 287.3 million vehicles operating on roads throughout the United States. These vehicles are operated by more than 227.8 million motorists, serviced by 763,700 auto service technicians and mechanics at 166,000 different automotive service facilities in the USA, all needing protection from the coronavirus. Each vehicle cabin is a small, self-contained, climate-controlled environment, which restricts movement, requires close contact of occupants, and repeated touching of interior surfaces. Air conditioning panel outlets are close to occupants’ faces, directing air at the occupant’s face, mouth and nose.

The instrument panel surface can become contaminated by breathing/coughing of front seat occupants. Panel A/C outlets airflow will pull air from the panel surface, mixing it and delivering it toward the cabin interior.”

MACS requests, “Service technicians need guidelines for pre-cleaning vehicles prior to service to protect themselves from transmittable diseases and harmful bacteria. They also need guidelines for dealing with challenges like servicing cabin air filters, evaporators, and system airflow components, which may become contaminated with virus.

Finally, guidelines like others, are needed for cleaning and disinfecting vehicles, both for the consumer, and service facilities, before returning them to the customer.

Without guidelines, cleaning misinformation and unverified product claims will thrive, and the health of vehicle owners and service technicians may be adversely affected.

On behalf of the motoring public and service industry, the Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) is requesting that the EPA, CDC and OSHA provide these much-needed guidelines as soon as possible.


Since 1981, the Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide has been the advocate for service and repair shop owners, distributors, manufacturers and educators making their living in the total vehicle climate and thermal management industry.

MACS Worldwide empowers members to grow their businesses and delivers tangible member benefits through industry advocacy with government regulators and by providing accurate, unbiased training information, training products, training curriculum and money-saving affinity member services. MACS has assisted more than 1.2 million technicians to comply with the 1990 Clean Air Act requirements for certification in refrigerant recovery and recycling to protect the environment.


To learn more about MACS Worldwide visit our website at The MACS 41st Training Event and Trade Show, A/Ccess will take place February 3-6, 2021 at the Rosen Centre in Orlando, FL. A current calendar of all regional training can be found on the training page of MACS website.


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VOCs and the ‘new car smell’

By Aaron Canada, Engineering Coordinator, Keihin North America Inc.

Many people say they love the smell of a new car. Buying one can be very exciting for multiple reasons. For some, it is the excitement of advanced technology or the latest functions that come with a fresh, shiny automobile. For others, it is achieving a personal milestone and improving their quality of life. With these reasons and others, the new car smell triggers joy in many people. To extend the duration of joy, air fresheners can be purchased with a ‘new car’ scent to bring the euphoria back to cars that are beginning to show their age.



Figure 1: VOCs vaporizing from a material into air

The new car smell is caused by several interior components that release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from off-gassing after they are manufactured. Off-gassing continues after the interior components are assembled into a vehicle, and then the beloved new car smell develops. In addition to odor, another result of materials off-gassing is fogging. Fogging is the film that can develop on windows and impede the driver’s visibility through the windshield. The effect of fogging is no wanted, but the odor created from components is desired by some. The new car smell fades over time after the majority of VOCs have vaporized and are released into the environment when the windows and doors are opened. The image in Figure 1 intends to represent the process of off-gassing with VOCs becoming airborne after being vaporized from a material.
Now that we know the new car smell is from VOCs, it is important to understand the impact of VOCs on consumers. The overall health impact may be unknown, but it is reasonably clear that there are no health benefits from VOC exposure. Reports indicate that some people experience “Sick house syndrome”, nausea, or fatigue from exposure to VOCs. Some VOCs may even cause cancer with a high exposure concentration. One of the VOCs with the most awareness is formaldehyde. While formaldehyde is known to preserve biological tissue and is contained in many household furniture products, formaldehyde is also found in many automotive components (at a much lower concentration than you will find in a biology lab).

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Federal 40 CFR 59 and California Air Resource Board’s (CARB) Article 2 currently regulate some VOCs for building materials and consumer products, but VOCs in automotive interior cabins are not regulated in the U.S. As the public becomes aware of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and the impact of VOCs, governments and the automotive industry are working to reduce the exposure of VOCs to vehicle occupants. Currently, China, Japan and South Korea regulate VOCs in automotive interior cabins. Most OEMs have global footprints; manufacturers of vehicles sold in the U.S also have strived to monitor and reduce VOCs as a result of the components used in the U.S, which may be sold in one of the aforementioned countries.
Figure 2 lists the VOCs that are typically measured in automotive components, but this varies by country. Total VOC (TVOC) includes the VOCs listed in addition to other VOCs that are contained in the item being measured.
Managing VOCs can be a challenge for OEMs, since the VOC content of the interior cabin is composed from several parts made by multiple suppliers. Therefore, the OEM must create a limit for each supplier and forecast the overall VOC content for the interior cabin.


Figure 2: List of VOCs that are typically measured

The VOC content of individual components is measured by placing the component in a bag that is sealed and sent to a test facility. VOC testing, which is performed only at qualified test labs, takes specialized equipment and expertise. Once the bagged part arrives at the test facility, the part is placed in a chamber for measurement. Measurements are typically collected at elevated temperatures to accelerate the release of VOCs. The VOC contained air from the part being measured is pumped through sorbent tubes that capture the VOC molecules. The VOCs in the sorbent tubes are then quantified with gas chromatographs and mass spectrometers, enabling the manufacturer to determine the mass of VOCs in the part tested.
Overall VOC content in automotive interior cabins is measured in a whole vehicle test chamber, and the interior cabin is isolated by having the windows and doors closed. After the correct conditions are met, air is collected from the interior to determine the concentration of VOCs. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has developed multiple types of measurement methods to simulate ambient, parking and driving modes. Several countries and organizations have test methods, but ISO 12219-1:2012 is the industry’s attempt to standardize the method to quantify VOCs in automotive interior cabins.
Are there any drawbacks to using low VOC materials? Some materials are known to have high levels of VOCs, but they may have excellent physical properties. This is where challenges arise for automotive engineers. Materials with low VOCs may have inferior properties, or comparable substitutes may have a higher cost. While the industry tries to lower VOCs in the interior cabin, it may be difficult to sell a vehicle for a higher price because of a low-VOC interior. However, you can easily find low-VOC paint with a higher price in hardware stores. We have all seen the sticker that states “Ice Cold A/C” on used cars, so can you imagine a “Low-VOC Interior” sticker on cars at a dealership?
Fortunately, material science has advanced. Thus, components with fewer VOCs can be made with a similar performance and cost. Materials such as plastics and adhesives have had a positive trend with VOC reduction over the past 10 to 20 years. Although progress has been made, many companies are still looking for ways to further reduce VOCs in their products for better consumer benefits.
How does this information relate to you? I hope you can help educate consumers about indoor air quality, and can appreciate one more item related to the development of automobiles. The journey to reduce VOCs will continue, and several organizations are working towards this goal. If your customers get excited about indoor air quality, you might be able to sell more cabin-air filters. If a customer complains about poor visibility, make sure their windshield is clean and explain the impact of VOCs and fogging.
The next time you hear someone state that they love the ‘new car smell’, you will be able to talk to them about formaldehyde, toluene, and other VOCs.

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