How to keep your air-conditioning as cool as a cucumber in this heatwave?
Dinesh · May 26, 2022 06:54 PM
“His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy.” Apart from being the most quoted line from Eminem’s “Lose yourself,” those are probably indicators that we’re not handling the current heatwave well. That means blasting the air-conditioning in your car to kingdom come every single time we get in but that’s not exactly the best practice for the system.
Much like our bodies in the morning, leaping out of bed the moment we wake up into 50 push-ups isn’t going to do us any good. Same goes for just blasting the air-conditioning the as soon as you jump into your car that’s been parked under the sun for hours.
Here, we’ll look into some basic tips on keeping your car’s air-conditioning as cool as a cucumber for years to come.
Just like your car’s engine, the air-conditioning system isn’t maintenance free. It needs to be serviced and most will come with the recommended service schedule in the manual.
In fact, an annual check-up by the authorised service centre or an external air-conditioning specialist is the best practice. This is where most problems begin with the system simply because “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
All the components in your air-conditioning system are prone to wear and tear, hence the need for periodic maintenance even if it’s still blowing cold air.
Among the most basic service practices include replacing the refrigerant, servicing the compressor and changing the cabin filter according to the maintenance details.
At the same time, have the technician perform the following as well:
adjust the drive belts and pulleys
test system lines, hoses and components for leaks
clean the condenser fins
deodorise and sanitise the system
2. Park in the shade
It goes without saying that the quickest way to cool the cabin down is to not let it heat up so much in the first place. Yes, easier said than done but if the opportunity to park in a shaded spot is present, do your best to claim that or fork out a bit more for a covered parking if you can.
Preventing direct sunlight from onto the glass surfaces will prevent the cabin from heating up and feeling like a sauna the moment you jump back in.
If all else fails and you need to park under direct sunlight, invest in a sunshade. Our piece on the effectiveness of this simple device should be all the convincing you need. Furthermore, if your car has window visors, you can lower the window a little for the hot air to escape without the fear or rain water seeping in.
3. Ventilate the car before switching on the AC
If all else fails and you’re forced to park under the sun for a few hours, please resist the temptation to blast the air-conditioning into the high heavens as soon as you start the car.
Instead, ventilate the cabin naturally first to get most of the sweltering air out. A quick way to do so is by lowering the front passenger’s window before opening and closing the driver’s door with the window up a few times successively. This will push the hot air out almost immediately.
Alternatively, if you don’t have the time for that, you can instead roll down the windows and drive for a few seconds before switching on the air-conditioning.
4. Start the AC in low and on fresh air
Once you’ve ventilated the cabin a little, it’s time to hit that AC switch but again, start slow and on “fresh” mode.
The interior temperature will be hotter so switching it to “fresh” will pull in cooler air from the outside. Furthermore, the AC works more efficiently when you’re driving as the compressor runs faster with the engine’s rotational speed.
Once you feel the air coming out of the vents is a little cooler, switch to “recirculate” mode as the system will now be recirculating the cooler air within the cabin through the receiver dryer to get colder air back out into the cabin.
By allowing the cabin to cool naturally before switching on the air-conditioning, each and every component in the system will operate at a much lower rate and therefore endure less wear and tear.
“Better late than never.” Some despise it, others begrudgingly agree with it but he swears by it… much to the chagrin of everyone around him. That unfortunately stems from all of his project cars not running most of the time, which in turn is testament to his questionable decision-making skills in life. A culmination of many wrongs fortunately making a right; much like his project cars on the rare occasions they run, he’s still trying to figure out if another project car is the way to go.