RAC Cars News


Summer Breeze

By raccars Published

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Despite the vagaries of the British summer climate, when the mercury rises the only cool breeze on long journeys will come from your car's air conditioning system. If you are planning a driving holiday this summer or if you spend a lot of time in your car, the air con system will be your life support, so make sure you look after it.

You should be using your air conditioning system at least once a month, all year round, to maintain it in good working order, and as the quickest and easiest way to demist your windscreen in wet weather. However, many car owners fail to do this and are surprised when the car remains hot and stuffy when they switch on the air con after months of inactivity. Even in Britain, where really hot days are few and far between, your car's air con can make for a more comfortable ride, so don't wait until you're dripping with sweat to press the A/C button.

Air conditioning is not tested during a regular service or an MOT. If you want to make sure your system is working properly you can request it to be tested and, if necessary, recharged as part of the service, an option only taken up by 10% of car owners.

Air conditioning systems have a finite lifespan, relying on a supply of gas for refrigeration properties. Like any consumable, that gas needs replacing regularly. Similarly, your system could develop leaks allowing gas to escape. You will notice when your air conditioning is running low on gas because it won't be blowing as cold as usual, so book in for a system check and re-gas. In some cases, this could need doing as often as every two years.

This will not only mean your system is more effective at keeping you cool, it's also a more economical way to run your car, because a system low on gas has to work harder to create the same cooling effect. It's your car's engine that provides the resources for the air conditioning to function, so the harder your air con has to work, the more fuel you will burn.

If your system is working well and you want to maintain it that way, you can buy bottles of air conditioning cleaner, which you release to work through the system and kill any bacteria or nasty odours which may be hanging around inside it.

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