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Tips for Maximizing Your Vehicle’s A/C

When the Summer temperatures climb and things start heating up around Detroit, drivers depend on their vehicle’s air conditioning systems to keep their car cool, even after spending hours out under the hot sun. After a long day on the beach, exploring downtown, or enjoying the views on the river, nothing is worse than coming back to a hot car that pushes out warm air on even on the coldest temperature settings. This article takes a quick look at vehicle A/C systems and simple tips to maintain and get the best performance from your air conditioning system.

If we want to really simplify things, your vehicle’s air conditioning system works by using pressurized chemical refrigerant, commonly referred to as Freon, to pull heat, moisture, and contaminants out of hot air and blow it into the vehicle’s cabin. Luckily for you, this system cycles and operates as a closed system, meaning nothing should enter or exit the system; In other words, you shouldn’t have to worry about regularly maintaining the system as, unless a part malfunctions or is damaged and needs replacement, the only “maintenance” you may find yourself doing after a while is “recharging” your A/C; This is just a term for adding more Freon to the system. Do note, however, that this isn’t something that you should need to do regularly, so if you find yourself frequently recharging your A/C it’s best you take your vehicle to a professional to have your A/C system looked at, as the odds are you have a leak or other such problem.

Now that you have a basic understanding of what your A/C does it’s time to go over some tips to help get the most out of your vehicle’s air conditioning. First things first, if you notice the A/C is a little less cold than it used to be, isn’t blowing as much air as normal, or even has strange smells to it, try checking the cabin air filter. Depending on the vehicle this may be accessible through the glove box or may require removal of the vehicle’s dash, but a dirty or clogged cabin air filter can restrict the flow of cold air from the A/C or even fail to remove contaminants from the air.

Now that you’re sure the A/C system is in good shape and the cabin air filter is clean of dirt and debris, it’s time for some tricks to help you get the most out of your air conditioning system. On hot days when your car has been sitting in the sun for some time, many drivers’ first thought before it’s time to drive somewhere is to start their car early to get the A/C pumping and, hopefully, cool the car down a bit before getting in. Little do they know this really isn’t making any significant difference in the temperature inside the car and may even be burning unnecessary fuel! In modern cars, the engine actually performs at its best while the car is driving, meaning the A/C gets the most power and is its most efficient once you start moving. With that being said, the A/C isn’t working very hard while the car sits in idle and won’t cool the cabin very much. You’re better off first opening the windows for a few minutes before getting in the car to let hot air escape, then getting in and hitting the road with the A/C blasting air at the coldest setting. Once you’re moving, leave only the back windows open so hot air can escape from the rear of the car while cold air enters the cabin from up front. If you have a sunroof, make sure to open that as well to speed up the cooling process, as hot air rises, and more heat can escape that way.

Once you get moving and the stale, hot air leaves the vehicle’s cabin, you can turn on the air recirculation if you’re driving alone or with one other passenger up front. This can help further cool things down as the car will recycle the already cooled air inside the vehicle, further cooling it and pushing it back through the cabin. It’s best to avoid this if you have passengers sitting in the backseat, however, as the warmer air in the cabin can be forced into the backseat and become stuffy and stale for passengers sitting back there.

Aside from knowing how the A/C works and how to get it pumping out cold air in the fastest way possible, you can further help keep your car cool by simply being smart about where you leave it. When possible, park in the shade or at least out of direct sunlight and consider leaving the windows and sunroof cracked so that hot air can escape when your car will be parked outside for an extended period of time. Further, consider investing in a windshield reflector to help keep the sun’s hot rays from heating up your car. This can even help keep your interior looking new for longer, as direct sunlight can warp, discolor and damage much of the plastics that make up a vehicle’s dash.

With your new knowledge on the basic operations of your car’s A/C system and these quick tips, you can be a pro at keeping your car comfortably cool on even the hottest days this summer. If you think it’s about time for an A/C recharge or a new cabin air filter, stop by Holbrook Auto Parts for low prices on the highest-quality parts in Detroit!

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2 thoughts on “Tips for Maximizing Your Vehicle’s A/C

  1. I have an uncle that is thinking about getting an auto part service. He wants to make sure that he is getting the right kind of service for his needs. It might be helpful for him to know a little more about optimizing your car’s tools like the AC.

    1. We’re glad you thought the article was useful, thanks!

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