How to get the best from your car’s air conditioner

When you open the car door a mass of hot air hits you like a blast from a furnace. It is that time again! Summer is here and that means it is the time when you put the air conditioning on before the radio. We all do it!

And with the good weather, who would not want to go to the beach? And what about when we get in the car to go on holiday? On these hot journeys the air conditioning becomes your best friend. But watch out! It is not only a convenience, it is also essential for your own safety, since heat increases fatigue and makes you feel sleepy, making driving more dangerous.

In fact, many studies have shown that when the temperature inside the car reaches 30 °C, driving errors increase by 20%. This just goes to show that heat affects drivers' concentration. Therefore, the best use and perfect maintenance of the air conditioning are essential for safe driving.

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Set a medium temperature

If, in addition to air conditioning, your car has climate control, the ideal is to set the temperature between 22 - 24 °C. This is the best way to not get too hot and also avoid catching a cold. Because... you don't want to go to the beach loaded down with a box of Kleenex, do you?

In addition, setting the air conditioner to below 22 °C uses more fuel, in some cases up to 20% more. Remember! The lower the temperature, the more fuel you use.

Positioning the air conditioning vents

This is a very common question. With the heat turning the car into a sauna people often direct the air conditioning onto their bodies with the intention of quickly cooling themselves down.

But in reality it is not recommendable to direct the air vents towards your neck or face. In fact, you should not direct them towards any part of your body. The best idea is to point the vents upwards, as cold air is heavier than hot air it will then move around more readily inside the car. While the side vents should be pointed towards the windows to offset the heat when the sun shines directly onto them.

It is also not a good idea to put the fan on at full power when you first get into the car if it has been sitting in the sun for several hours. We realise that it feels as hot as an oven, but you have to resist the temptation. It is best to ventilate the car first by lowering all the windows for a few minutes before turning the air conditioning on.

Keep the air conditioner clean

You should keep the radiator clean and make sure that all the hoses and pipes are in good condition. You should also check that the air filter is not clogged and that it works correctly, since it ensures that the air entering the car is free from pollen, dust and other harmful substances.

Changing it from time to time will make sure your car stays cool and prevent the possible accumulation of fungus and bacteria in the ducts. This happens quite commonly and you will notice it immediately because an unpleasant vinegary smell will fill the vehicle.

 

Using the air conditioner

Apart from relieving the summer heat, the ventilation system also helps to demist the windows when there is a thermal contrast in the car. Therefore, it is not only used in the summer, it is also used in winter, when it is raining and cold the ventilation system is essential for good visibility.

It is also a good idea to put it on at least once a month and let it run for a few minutes. This simple task will prevent the ducts from drying out and collecting dust, mould or bacteria.

 

Liquid coolant and gas

Remember to keep the coolant liquid topped up as well as the air conditioning gas. If the car does not cool down quickly when you turn the air conditioning on this may be a symptom that it needs a "hit" of gas, which usually costs less than 30 euros.

Also remember that the air conditioning should also be checked periodically. Especially in older cars, when it should be checked every two years. To do this just go to a garage so that an expert can check it out and, where possible, the garage should specialise in your make of car as this is always more effective.

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