Photo by Yurii Hlei
Originally Posted On: AAMCO Blog | 5 Ways to Protect Your A/C This Summer
Keep your A/C working hard for you this summer with these top 5 tips!
It’s getting hotter outside, which means that it’s time to switch over your car’s setting from heat to cool! If you find that your vehicle’s A/C isn’t quite keeping up with the rising temps, it may be time to visit your mechanic for a check-up.
Want to make sure your A/C stays strong and healthy this Summer? Here are the top 5 tips for protecting your A/C.
1. Don’t Turn on the A/C until You’re Driving
One of the best tips for keeping your A/C strong and high-functioning is one of the most simple – yet potentially inconvenient! To protect your A/C, only switch it on after you have started driving. This tip can be tough to remember, especially on those hot days when you are ready to feel that cool, refreshing blast of air.
However, starting your A/C before driving can strain and potentially damage your air conditioning system.
Why? Your A/C is operated by the engine’s crankshaft rotating the internal compressor. This system works when the vehicle is in motion — so wait just a few moments until your car is headed down the road to hit the A/C button.
2. Key A/C Components to Check:
- Refrigerant: Your A/C is powered by refrigerant — a chemical that the A/C unit uses to cool down air as it moves through the system. If your refrigerant is old or low, the air condenser won’t have the ability to cool the air, leading to low-functioning A/C.
- Condenser: The main component of your A/C, the condenser, is required to help cool down your air as it moves through the air conditioning system. If your condenser is worn or damaged, the air you feel coming through the vents won’t be as cool as you desire.
- Filter: A blocked or damaged filter can keep cool, refreshing air from moving through the A/C and into the vehicle. The less cool air can flow, the harder the A/C will have to work to keep up. Make sure to check and replace your air filter often.
3. Recirculation Is Your Friend
Your A/C unit will typically cool down your car through two methods — direct cooling and recirculation. With direct cooling, the A/C will pull air from outside the vehicle into the unit, cooling down the air and sending refreshing air into the cabin.
However, if you want to save on energy and reduce the stress on your A/C, switch over to recirculation.
With recirculated cooling, your vehicle will take air that has already been cooled inside the car and reuse it within the cabin. This can reduce the time it takes to cool down hot, humid air outside by only using pre-cooled air from inside the car.
4. Keep Your Ride in the Shade
You can reduce the amount of stress on your A/C by keeping your vehicle parked in a shaded area during the heat of the day.
Each time you turn on your vehicle, the A/C will work hard to cool down the car’s internal temperature. If you can keep the interior temperature low by parking in the shade, then it will take the A/C less time to cool things down — and help extend the life of your A/C system.
5. Routine Maintenance Is Crucial
If you want to ensure that your air conditioning keeps up this summer, never skip your dealer or manufacturer-recommended maintenance. If you aren’t sure what the routine maintenance schedule is for your vehicle, you can typically find a listing in your vehicle’s manual or through online resources.
During routine maintenance, a trained and skilled mechanic can take a look over your air conditioning system to identify and diagnose any potential issues. If you are having trouble with your A/C, a specialist will have the tools and resources to fix it the right way.
Routine maintenance will also help to diagnose any other potential issues that you may not have noticed. By visiting your local mechanic consistently, you can head off problems before they become expensive repairs!
Stay Fresh This Summer with a Strong A/C
Like any other part of your vehicle, your air conditioner is a complex and intricate piece of machinery. Understanding how the A/C system works and how to keep it working in top shape can help you enjoy high-quality, refreshing air no matter the weather!
As always, trust a trained and licensed mechanic or A/C technician to help you identify, diagnose, and fix any air conditioning problems that may arise with your car. Attempting to fix or handle your A/C without the proper knowledge or skill can lead to trouble quickly.
With these tips in mind, you will be ready to hit the road and take on whatever the season brings your way!