Air con is one of those features that you don’t really think about – until it breaks. We take some time out to look at car air con, how it works, and how you can get the best from it.
How does air con work?
Your air con allows you to control the temperature inside your car, as well as helping to filter out pollen, airborne bacteria and fumes. Air con works in a similar way to a fridge, in that cooling gas is used to drop the air temperature. Air conditioning doesn’t just provide comfort in the summer, it can help to demist your windscreen in the winter, too, helping you to retain visibility and drive safely.
To get the most out of your air con, it is important that your windows are closed. Otherwise, your air con is working much harder, trying to cool the air inside your car, as well as a constant stream of hot air. What’s more, an open window will let unfiltered air in; not ideal if you suffer from allergies or want to avoid too much exposure to pollution.
Maintaining your air conditioning
It is easy to take air conditioning for granted, but a little bit of relatively low maintenance care can help it last a lot longer and make it more effective.
Recharging your air con - as with all fluids in your vehicle, your air con will need a recharge or re-gas at some point. How often this is required depends on the manufacturer (check your hand book) but it is usually about every two years. When your garage does this, they will drain the coolant, refill it and check the air con over, adding lubricant where required to keep it running smoothly.
Cleaning your air con – just as vacuum cleaners benefit from a good clean, so does your air conditioning system. Its job is to suck air in and filter out the nasties before piping the air back into your vehicle. Those “nasties” have to go somewhere! If you notice that your car is smelling when the air con is on, it may well need a deep clean. Ask your local air conditioning specialist, or, if they offer air con servicing, your usual garage, to give your air con system an antibacterial clean to get rid of any potentially damaging substances.
Air con checks – nobody likes wasting money, but nor is it a good idea to leave anything to chance. If you are unsure about when your air con last had a re-gas, all air con specialists and some garages offer an air con performance test. This test is often for free and will let you know how well your air con is performing, so that you can plan when to book it in for a re-gas and clean.
If you have noticed a smell, or that your demisters are a little more sluggish than usual, book your vehicle in to your local air con specialist; you will be grateful when the summer comes. For more tips and advice, follow Trust A Garage on Facebook or Twitter.