The summer sun is here, school is out, temps are rising, and it’s time to stay cool. Driving around in the summer can be a huge drain if your car’s air conditioning isn’t working properly. Recent surveys indicated that over 75% of cars are in need of some sort of minor repairs. Among those minor repairs are often A/C maintenance. The good news is that taking your car into an auto repair shop for A/C maintenance is only necessary if you haven’t been taking good care of your vehicle. As one of the leading auto repair shops in the area, here are some of our top tips to keep your car A/C cool this summer:
Tips to Keep Air Conditioning In Check
Luckily for you, air conditioning repair is much easier than going in for brake service or new belts and hoses. In fact, keeping your A/C in check is more like an oil change or tune-up service (except in rare situations). Here are some tips and tricks from your favorite auto repair shop.
Avoid Pre-Cooling the Car: As tempting as it is to turn the car on and “pre-cool” the vehicle, air conditioning is designed to work best while the car is actually moving. The faster the engine turns, the faster the air conditioning compressor runs. The air conditioning compressor is what actually cools your car. Attempting to pre-cool the car is mostly just a waste of time and gas. If the cabin is really hot, crank up the fans when you first start driving and open the rear windows for about 20-30 seconds. This will force all of the hot air out of the car and help cool off the interior. Opening the front windows will only move the heat out of the front of the car, leaving the back hot. Make sure to open the back windows.
Use Lower Temps and Lower Fans: Setting the temperature to the lowest setting and adjusting the fans to a slower setting is much more efficient for car air conditioning. As an auto repair shop, we have also noticed that this doesn’t dry out the air as much and can increase fuel efficiency in a vehicle. The traditional A/C system in a car is set to cool air to 38 degrees. Setting the temperature higher forces the system to heat the air back up, which takes more fuel.
Avoid Recirculating Air: Especially if there are passengers in the back seat, turn off recirculation mode. This will take air from the front of the car and pull it back through the system, which keeps the front of the car cool but the back of the car hot and stale. Not something your passengers are going to like!
The Stop/Start System: Many new cars come with an automatic stop/start system. These features save fuel by stopping your car engine when at a red light or in heavy traffic and automatically start it again as you begin to move forward. While this can save some fuel, it also stops the A/C compressor from running when the engine is off. In very hot weather you will definitely notice the lack of cool at a lengthy stoplight or in stop and go traffic.
Clean the Filter: If you aren’t super confident doing this on your own, bring it into an auto repair shop and we can help you. Ensuring the cabin air filter is clean will help promote optimal airflow. If there is a lot of dirt accumulated on the air filter, it is time for a change. Typically the air filter is accessible from behind the glove compartment and only takes a few minutes to replace. Often the replacement can be done as part of an oil change service, or just done by your own. If the air filter isn’t behind the glove compartment and you aren’t sure how to locate it, bring your car in for a tune-up and an auto repair shop can help keep your A/C running prime this summer.