While we are all enjoying a lovely hot summer this year, there is one saviour that is standard in most cars, which we all take for granted: air conditioning. However, use it wisely, as it is not just a matter of pressing a button, and it’s on. There are correct ways of using this system so that it’s not just for ambient temperature, but also so it doesn’t impact negatively on you and your motor.
As a driver, were you aware of the risks of higher temperatures and dehydration, which can cause tiredness, dizziness, headaches and reduced reaction times?
Doctors have tested and recorded that a difference of just 10°C – 35°C compared to 25°C – inside the cabin can diminish reaction times by 20% – the equivalent to a blood alcohol reading of 0.05%.
Safety research has found that turning the system on full-blast – could be reducing its effectiveness, resulting in higher interior temperatures and possible dehydration. So, here’s how to avoid those air conditioning mistakes, when you first get into a boiling hot car.
- Turning on the air conditioning full blast as soon as you get in the car
When entering a hot car, it’s tempting to turn the air-con on to maximum. However, turning on the air conditioning straight away without opening the windows will just recirculate the hot air. Instead, open the doors, lower the windows for a minute or two before shutting the doors and cranking up the A/C.
- Keeping the air recirculation option activated
Keeping it on can make the windows fog and reduce visibility. Most cars will have an ‘Auto’ option, which can regulate itself to prevent fog while keeping drivers and passengers cool.
- Not turning on the air conditioning in the morning
Some summer mornings can be cool, but it’s still a good idea to keep the A/C on to prevent windows from fogging up when the outside temperature rises. Did you know that air conditioning also comes in handy on cold, dark winter days? Switch on your air con the next time the cabin mists, and the air conditioning will produce dry warm air, ensuring maximum visibility and demisting of windows when drivers need it most.
- Pointing the air jets toward you
It’s tempting, but it’s counter-productive and stops the car getting an even distribution of airflow. Pointing the jets upward lets the cool air spread around the car more effectively and allows it to reach all occupants.
5. Not performing regular maintenance
Did you know that air conditioning systems in a car were first fitted, as a luxury 80 years ago? Back then, air conditioning would cost approximately £3,418 in today’s money, and all this gave you was a refrigeration compressor which ran off the vehicle’s engine, it had no thermostat and simply discharged the cooled air from the back of the car.
It’s a welcome relief during these hot summer days, that air conditioning does come as standard with most manufacturers, and they are a little more efficient than back in 1938.
Besides hot summer days, and cold winter nights, reguarly turning on your air conditioning ensures the system remains charged and does not dry out. It’s also worthwhile knowing that even with regular use, air con gas peremeates from the system.
So just like the oil, tyres or brake fluid, the air conditioning system requires maintenance. Failing to keep the air con gas topped up and changing clogged cabin air filters every 10,000 to 15,000 miles can stop your A/C working effectively.
So don’t take air conditioning for granted, use it wisely and ensure that it’s maintained properly with regular servicing and recharging so that the system works as effectively as possible.
My Fleet Solutions offers the very best for fleets when it comes to vehicle servicing, maintenance and repairs, on all makes and models. My Fleet Solutions can take the sting out of automotive costs, with 60% saved on SMR compared to franchise dealers. The costings are transparent, based upon thorough working knowledge and up-to-date automotive data, plus all genuine parts and repairs are protected under warranty.
Visit www.myfleetsolutions.co.uk and book an air conditioning service.