There’s no better feeling on a hot day than being able to crank the air conditioning in your car and finally finding a bit of relief from the unbearable heat. It’s arguably one of the most important features in a vehicle as sometimes rolling the windows down just doesn’t cut it, however, it’s important that you know the proper way to use your air conditioning to avoid excessive stress on the engine or reducing your fuel mileage. So before you crank the air all the way up, consider these tips to make sure that you’re maximizing the efficiency of your AC and that you’re using it properly to avoid unnecessary and avoidable damages.
Tips to maximize AC efficiency
- Park in Shade– It may sound insignificant but one way to start to minimize the AC’s work is by parking in a shaded spot, especially if you’ll be away from your car for the entire afternoon. No matter how hot it gets throughout the day, shade will at least help lower the temperature inside your vehicle for when you get back.
- Roll the Windows Down– Another way to help your car cool down quickly without going straight to the air conditioning is by rolling all four windows down and driving for a little bit, usually you don’t need to go faster than 10 or maybe 15 miles per hour which will allow fresh air to enter the vehicle while forcing the hot, stagnant air out.
- Start With a Low Setting– Immediately cranking the air conditioning to a high level will lead to faster wear and tear and can lead to overheating as more energy than usually is needed to rapidly cool without any warming up. When you first turn the air on, start with a lower setting and let it warm up a little bit before turning it up higher if the weather outside is unbearable.
- Recirculate the Air in the Car– Using the recirculation option with your air conditioning will make sure that the hot air from the outside isn’t being pulled into the car while the air conditioning is running and trying to cool the interior. With the interior cooling down, the air conditioning won’t have to work as hard to continue cooling.
- Don’t Immediately Shut off the Air– Possibly one of the most common improper treatments of the air conditioning is turning your vehicle off immediately upon arriving at your destination without turning the air conditioning off first. Once you turn the air off, leave the fan on at an intermediate speed to work to dry out the AC’s evaporator. It will be near ice cold and can cause condensation which may lead to a puddle of water forming under your vehicle, so by leaving the fan running, it will reduce the moisture and condensation that builds up and will prevent moss and bacteria from building up on the evaporator and other parts.
- Watch for Fuel Efficiency– Remember, using your air conditioner will eat into your vehicle’s fuel consumption as the air conditioning compressor is powered by the engine. Using the air conditioning on a high setting especially will lead to a reduction in fuel efficiency so if you don’t need the air to be that high, then avoid overusing it and cutting into your car’s fuel levels.
- Have Your AC Serviced Yearly– Regularly servicing your AC will help ensure that it will stay reliably even in the hottest conditions. There are a number of parts in the air conditioning system that help it to work correctly and any one of these parts is subject to wear and tear and require regular servicing to ensure they are working and functioning properly. When you do have your AC serviced be sure that the mechanic checks the refrigerant levels as well. Although it’s sometimes not included in the standard vehicle services, having your AC system looked at once a year by a trustworthy auto service center will help make sure that you don’t subject yourself to unbearable summer temperatures with a nonfunctioning AC.
Try to maintain & use the AC properly
Having a cool and working air conditioner is one of the keys to surviving the scorching summer months but it’s important that you remember that just like every other part of your vehicle, you have to use the AC properly and ensure that it’s well maintained to avoid causing issues to it and to your vehicle. Whether it’s being checked yearly or you avoid using it at times you may not necessarily need it, a little bit of effort goes a long way to preserving your comfort on the uncomfortably hot days.