OK, so the reliable presence of cold air in your car is probably your last concern during this time of year. However, once winter’s all done with, a broken air conditioner is sure to make for one depressing discovery. Rather than ready yourself for a potential repair, it’s much better to employ one of the many methods of keeping your vehicle air conditioning in its best condition. We’ve listed some of these cool care tips below, ranging from those you can take care of yourself to others that can be left to the professionals.
Essential Maintenance for a Cool Car
General practice recommends that, no more than once a week, you fire up your car’s air conditioner for a couple of minutes regardless of the corresponding temperature outside. The benefit of this is it keeps all the valves and pumps that make up the system in good, lubricated fashion and maintains the gas pressure - all for very little effort. Even now, in the midst of winter, using your air con will remove humidity from your vehicle’s cabin, and is also a handy tool for removing fog from your windshield when visibility is reduced.
What to check on during your Check-up
During a vehicle servicing, there’s a massive list of items for the mechanic to check off of their list. Surprisingly though, the air conditioner isn’t usually one of them. Whether you’re expecting to drive out somewhere notably warm this summer, or just want to keep a cool head about your vehicle air conditioning, make sure you ask to have the refrigerant level checked, and the cooling system refreshed with gas and lubricant. Your air conditioning should really go through its own, full on check-up every 2 years, so make sure you get the timing right so you don’t end up with a less than optimal blast of cool air when the roads are scorching hot.
Getting the Most out of your Air Conditioner
Even if your car’s cooling system is fully checked out and operating at its best, there’s a lot to be said for the way you ultimately employ your air conditioning beyond just ‘switching it on’. Whilst it’s often easier said than done, always try and find a shaded spot when you want to have the AC running whilst parked; this will help lessen the cooler’s work and ensure your vehicle isn’t a sauna when its time to head off (if there’s no shade, windshield shades are a good alternative). Likewise, having the windows down just a tad will leave less heat within your car, allowing your air conditioner to do its job faster and with less strain.
When it actually comes to firing up the system, it’s tempting to crank it up to its highest setting to circulate the air as much as possible, but to keep your AC in working order it’s much more preferable that you start in low and gradually build it up (some automatic systems will do this for you). When you’re pretty close to your destination, switch off the air conditioner before the engine, leaving the fan running in order to avoid getting that condensation puddle that sometimes forms underneath your car.