Refrigerator coolant R-134a can be purchased at most automotive parts stores, such as Advance Auto Parts. R-134a is typically used in refrigerators manufactured after 1995. Refrigerators manufactured before 1995 typically use R-12, which must be purchased and installed by an EPA-certified technician.
Freon is commonly used as the name for all coolants, although Freon is a trademarked name for Dupont CFC and HFC refrigerants. R-12 is a CFC coolant and R-134a is an HFC coolant. Cooling problems on old refrigerators are commonly caused by a coolant leak. Replacing R-12 in older refrigerators is typically illegal for homeowners and requires a specialized set of tools that are usually very expensive.