What used to be a luxury a few years ago, has slowly become a necessity. We have it in our homes, offices, and even our cars. We can all agree that air conditioning (AC) is a lifesaver, but it can also cause you headaches if you don’t use it right. Literally and metaphorically.
We’ve prepared a quick guide to help you take care of your car’s AC
1. Don’t let it rest too much
It’s a known fact your car’s AC adds to your fuel consumption so many drivers only use it in the summer months, when it’s absolutely necessary. However, that small cost is worth it in the long run.
Using your air conditioning regularly adds a bit to your fuel cost but saves you a ton on maintenance. If you let it sit for too long it may start leaking coolant and lose efficiency, or in the worst case, stop working completely.
Remember, time wasted at the service means lost earnings, so by taking good care of your car you save more money than just the parts and labour costs.
Tip: Start your AC even in the cold season, at least for ten minutes every other week or so. By doing so, you mix the coolant and move it around the system, helping keep the compressor, the heat exchanger and the gaskets in good condition.
2. Give it every bit of help
Rather than using it sparingly, it’s better to use it cleverly. When the AC has to work hard it consumes a lot of fuel, but you can decrease the load on your AC significantly if you build some good habits.
The quickest way to cool the car is to make sure it doesn’t overheat in the first place. Always try to find a parking spot outside of direct sunlight, whether it’s a covered parking, or just the shade of a tree or a building.
However, unless you’ve parked in an underground garage, chances are your cabin is still warmer than the outside air.
Tip: Your ventilation system can only do so much, so it’s best to open at least two doors on opposing sides for a few minutes before you set off to remove the hot air, and drive a couple of blocks with the windows rolled down before you start the AC.
3. Start it in low and use recirculation mode
If you ventilate your car properly before you hit the road you’ll be able to resist the urge to crank it all the way up. Most Automatic AC systems start low and increase the fan speed gradually until the car reaches the set temperature. You should do the same if you have a manual system, as it’s better for you and your riders, as well as your car.
Tip: Get in the habit of checking the air recirculation button every time you start the AC. It shuts out the hot air and eases the load on your AC, meaning a more pleasant ride, less fuel consumption, and a longer compressor life.
+1 Foggy windows? Use the AC
It sounds counterintuitive at first, but as we said above, using the AC on colder days is beneficial on many levels. Over time moisture can build up in the car, especially if you don’t use the air conditioning very often. Other than the frustrating foggy windows on a cold day, this can bring other troubles too.
Sitting moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi which can pose a serious health risk, but over time algae and mosses can start growing in the vent ducts, causing an unpleasant smell and reducing your AC’s efficiently.
Tip: Turning on the AC every once in a while, even for short periods of time, has a dehumidifying effect. This helps maintain a healthier environment in the car, and also improve visibility on colder days.
Due to the increased infection risk, many customers prefer to have the windows down instead of having the AC turned on during the pandemic, and that’s ok. Just turn on the air conditioning at the start of your shift at least once a week to ensure it’s working properly and to circulate the coolant for a couple of minutes.
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