If you want to avoid sticking to your leather seats in a long hot traffic jam this summer, and demist your windows at the flick of a switch in winter, you’ll need to understand how to effectively maintain your car’s air conditioning system.
How does car air conditioning work?
Car air conditioning works like your fridge at home, cooling the air with a refrigerant gas and then circulating it through your car.
How to get the most from your air con
1. Don’t pay to cool the street!
It’s tempting on hot days to open the windows for an extra blast of cold air, but if your windows are open while your air con is on, you’re wasting fuel and coolant by pumping cooled air into the outside.
2. Recharge regularly
As with oil and other liquids in your vehicle, the coolant used by the air con system needs to be regularly topped up (known as a recharge or re-gas). If the level gets too low, the coolant has to be drained and replenished. Most manufacturers recommend a recharge every two years, but check your vehicle’s handbook for details for your car.
If your coolant is depleting faster than expected there may be a leak in the system. It’s important to get this checked as the gases, while safer than those used in the early 1990s, are harmful to the environment.
Your local Autocare centre can recharge your air con and will check for leaks as part of the service. They’ll also lubricate all the moving parts to extend the longevity of the system.
3. Keep it clean
Dust and liquid build up in the air conditioning unit’s parts over time, creating a breeding ground for bacteria which can eventually start to smell. As well as keeping the inside of your car dirt and dust-free with regular cleaning and vacuuming, you could consider an air con anti-bacterial clean from your local Autocare centre.
For a free air con check or to book any of the services mentioned above, see our Air Conditioning Services page.