Know your shops to sell leak detection

As spring ramps up, many shops, particularly in the north, will be doing more and more leak detection jobs focused mainly on A/C leaks, though other fluid leaks are always regular jobs as well.

As far as this spring goes, you should be sure your customers know about the new SAE standard for refrigerant leak detectors — SAE J2791. The new standard was created to “validate the performance of instruments that would find very small to moderate leaks, be very stable in a service environment, and be very robust,” said Rick Reddington, VP, Techno Tools Corp. The standard targets service of the newer mobile A/C systems with smaller refrigerant charges, he said.

When you’re getting ready to talk to techs and shop owners about A/C leak detection this season, you’ll definitely want to mention J2791. And, of course, be sure to have some J2791-compliant detectors available on your shelves.


The majority of techs interviewed indicated they use all the leak detection equipment available to them, including refrigerant leak detectors, smoke detectors, UV lights and dyes and ultrasonic equipment.

Some had favorites, but only one ruled out a particular product: electronic refrigerant detectors. That tech felt those tools gave off too many false indicators. (Of course, maybe J2791 equipment will quell that).

So be sure you’re aware not only of the leak detection equipment your shops have, but be knowledgeable enough to suggest additional equipment to cover all leaks that might come in the bay. And know which shops swear by which products. Shop A may add some new smoke detection equipment if they know that Shop B raves about it.

For the shops that use UV lights and dye equipment, talk with your customers about who supplies the dye. For many, the shop supplies the dye. In those cases, it emphasizes the need to be talking not only with techs but shop owners and foremen. Your dye consumable sales there will come each week when you ask the owner how dye supplies are. And wouldn’t you rather have that money than let the parts store get it?

Keep up with new products, too. J2791 equipment is one area. Another is with advances in UV lights. Several techs said the new cordless rechargeable units are a great innovation. Many also liked to use flexhead units in many applications.

As always, know your customers. Make sure to ask driving questions during your route. Ask if leak detection tools and supplies are provided by the shop. Ask what types of leaks the techs are trying to find most often now, and what they need to improve their detection techniques.

Ask enough before the sale, and soon you’ll be asking for the sale.

PTEN Buyers Guide

Find more equipment in the PTEN Buyers Guide.