Summer special: The best way to use your car's AC
Judging by how hot the summer season's turning out to be, the air conditioner is arguably the best invention by humanity. Don't you love it when the cool air from the AC provides instant relief from the relentless heat outside? The air conditioner is, by far, one of the most important features of your car too. Not only does it keep you cool on a hot day, a properly functioning AC also allows you to keep your windows rolled up so you can be isolated from the dust, pollution and noise that's become synonymous with commuting these days.
In times like these, it's absolutely essential that your car's air conditioner is running optimally, and here's what you should and should not to do to ensure that you stay out of trouble.
Park in the shade
The quickest way to cool your car is ensuring it does not heat up too much in the first place. Try to find a place to park that's covered or away from direct sunlight. It could either be a basement parking or under the shade of a tree. That way, your car won't feel like a furnace on wheels when you return to it at the end of the day.
In case you cannot find such a covered parking spot, leave the windows open smidgen, enough to let fresh air circulate. This will also help reduce the greenhouse effect that tends to occur when you park in the sun. Additionally, you can use window shades, available at car accessory shops, to block out the sun.
In case you have leather or leatherette seats, it's advisable to cover them with a sheet. It shall help keep the seats cool, making it easier to sit on it after the car's been left out in the sun.
Ventilate the car
If all of the above have failed and your car's interior is excessively hot, it's a lot better if you will try and ventilate the cabin first before turning on the AC.
What you'll have to do is open all the windows and drive for bit. The hot air will escape and will make it a whole lot easier for your car's AC to cool the car down rapidly.
Start the AC in Low
Try to avoid the instinct of turning the air-conditioning system on full blast as soon as you start the car.
In case you have an automatic air-conditioning system, it will start in low mode and will gradually increase its speed. Try doing the same in case of manual air conditioners by adjusting the blower and temperature controls.
Always use re-circulation mode
Once the AC is blowing cool air in your face, turn on the re-circulation mode. This means that the AC system won't suck air from the outside, and it will use the one in the cabin. That, in turn, will require the system to work less to cool the car down further.
Shut down properly
Once you've reached your destination, turn off the AC before switching off the engine. You can keep the fan running in the meanwhile which will dry out the evaporator and its surroundings.
This means moss and other bacteria won't thrive there, and you'll be spared from foul smells and possible respiratory system diseases.
Don't forget to follow your car's periodic maintenance schedule, when the cabin air filter should be replaced. Also, at some point the refrigerant in the system will need to be replaced. Do it on a certified dealership that only uses original replacements for your vehicle.
Another thing you should be careful about is temperature variation. If it's very hot outside, don't turn your cabin into an igloo. The human body was not made to handle such temperature changes.
It's certainly not a good idea to keep pets or children in a parked car with the windows rolled up, especially in hot weather. Cabin temperatures shoot up significantly in a matter of minutes, which could pose a serious risk to life.
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