It’s mid-summer here in Arizona, and you know how hot it can get, especially when you’re on the road. A good car air conditioner is worth its weight in gold. Brand new cars always have amazing air conditioning, but they start losing their efficiency over time, and gradually you may start to notice your A/C getting less cool as the vehicle ages.
Everyone has their own theory on car air conditioners. For example, there are different arguments about whether or not you should start your car and blast the A/C before getting in to cool it down, or whether you should open the windows with the A/C running for the first few minutes to help.
Here in this article, we separate the fact from fiction and show you how to get the most out of your car’s A/C, so that it lasts for as long as possible.
Tip #1: Pre-Cooling the Air Conditioning is a Bad Idea.
To be clear, your car’s air conditioning works best when you’re actually driving the car. The A/C compressor is controlled by the car engine; the faster the engine runs, faster the compressor runs. So, when you start the A/C before getting into the car, you’re only wasting gas – not a good idea, considering current gas prices.
Instead, if it’s a really hot day and the interiors are excruciatingly hot, crank up the fan with the rear windows – NOT the front windows – open for just 30 seconds when you start driving. This will force the hot air out of the car.
Tip #2: Don’t Use the Re-Circulation Mode.
It’s never a good idea to re-circulate the air as that only takes the hot air from the front seats to the back seats. So, while those in the front seats stay cool, the back of the cabin is filled with hot and stale air.
Tip #3: Set the Lowest Temperature Right at the Beginning of the Drive.
One mistake a lot of people make is to set the temperature high when they start the air conditioning. When the temp is high, that forces the air conditioning to re-heat the air and wastes a lot of fuel in the bargain. Instead, set the air conditioning to the lowest temperature at the start of the drive. This will make the air conditioning work much better and save fuel as well.
Tip #4: Always Opt for a Manual Start/Stop System.
Most new cars come with an auto start/stop system for the air conditioning. This is for sure a very fuel-efficient feature as it turns the A/C compressor off when you stop the engine. But here in Arizona with our excessive heat, this would make the car unbearably hot whenever you stop at a signal or are stuck in heavy traffic. Instead, shut down the auto-start/stop system and operate the A/C manually.
Tip #5: Check the Cabin Air Filters.
Check the cabin air filters and make sure they are clean. When there’s too much dirt accumulating on the filters, that affects the airflow in a bad way. In some of the newer models, the air filters are easy to replace. But in some cars, you’ll need to remove the entire dash to replace the filters. That’s never easy. In that case, it’s better to take your car to an auto shop near you, instead of attempting to replace the filters yourself.