With the summer months hopefully on the way very shortly it is important that the air conditioning systems in our cars are working properly. Having said this though the general feeling among motorists is that the air conditioning uses more fuel and especially now times are difficult for many and the cost of fuel is increasing, there isn’t any to be wasted. Of course this is true but only up until 40 miles per hours. When the vehicle reaches this speed it actually uses more fuel having the window open. This is because of the extra drag that is caused from the window being open.
Air conditioning should ideally be used all year round. This is because if it is used infrequently then the contents actually settles and separates. When this happens the system may leak and even fail. If this does happen then the unit has to be recharged and is often at a cost to the driver because it isn’t usually covered under warranty. To prevent this it is suggested that the air conditioning is used for at least 10 minutes every week.
There are a few things that you can look out for when it comes to the air system which should help prevent a costly repair or at least make you aware that it needs to be looked at by a professional.
As vehicles get older and the air conditioning system isn’t used as regularly bacteria start to build up which results in a smell circulating around the vehicle. Many believe that this is what causes “sick car syndrome” but this can be solved by a quick antibacterial clean.
Eventually you will notice that your system isn’t producing as much cold air as it used to. This is due to a reduction in the refrigerant level which is of course expected over time. This does need to be looked at by a professional in the form of a service but probably won’t be covered under the manufacturer’s service schedule.
If you notice a puddle under the car and is usually under the passenger side this is nothing to worry about it. It is probably the vapor from the air system that has been drained away from the vehicle. Cars that have an air conditioning system will be fitted with a drain tube. However, if you don’t have it serviced a blockage in this tube may go unnoticed which could be costly. When the condensation isn’t drained away it builds up in the vehicle which can lead to damp carpets which could mean a claim on the motor insurance policy.