UV leak detection technology

Sept. 2, 2016
It's all about having the proper light and the proper dye.

Advancements in technology over the years have had profound effects on ultraviolet (UV) leak detection and how it is employed by automotive technicians to address leaks in A/C systems.

UV lights once consisted of large, hot halogen bulbs powered by a vehicle’s battery. However, the development of LEDs and lithium-ion batteries have transformed UV lights into small, cordless, versatile offerings that provide the performance of their larger predecessors. The dye used in UV leak detection technology has evolved as well. Most manufacturers now use co-solvent free formulas and no longer include harmful solvents in their offerings, and they include extra additive packages to improve A/C performance as well.

“It comes down to having the right dye and the right light,” says Matthew Otten, product marketing manager, CPS Products Canada, a provider of UV leak detection products (www.cpsproducts.com). “The high-quality dyes are formulated to work with lights that emit light in the proper 40mn wavelength. Having the proper tool paired with the best chemical will save time and money for the end user.”

When it comes to UV lights, distributors should advise their customers to look for LEDS, an aluminum housing and lithium-ion batteries.

“On the higher end lights, shop owners should look for features like adjustable lens focus and constant output technology,” adds Otten.

Meanwhile, technicians need dye that is safe, easy to use and effective. According to Otten, shop owners and technicians should look for SAE J2297-certified dye that comes in an injection kit that provides ease of use. In addition to detecting leaks, some of the latest dyes also contain additive packages that will extend the life and improve the performance of the A/C system. Features such as friction modifiers and anti-wear additives are also quite prevalent in today’s dyes, as they add value to the customer.

“Distributors should be advising customers about the advantage of having a complete leak detection system,” says Otten. “It is important to not only have the right light, but the right dye and injection system in order to properly diagnose A/C leaks.”

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