A guide to your car’s air conditioning

It is now Summer across Zimbabwe we’ve experienced several hot, muggy days over the past few weeks. During these times, our car’s air conditioning often works overtime.

The air-conditioning systems in modern vehicles have been designed to set air conditioning at the press of a button (Auto), but do you know what actually happens in the background?

Air conditioning systems operate in a similar way to a household fridge, in that they use pressure to transform liquid into an icy cold gas, which the fan then blows through in order to make the cabin cool.

How can I help my air-conditioning perform efficiently?

On a hot day, the inside of a vehicle can reach temperatures over 60 degrees, which is why you should never leave your children or pets unattended. To help reduce the cabin temperature, try to park in a shaded area and use a windscreen shade to keep the heat off the dashboard. This will not only keep the dashboard and vents cool, but also stop the steering wheel from getting hot and uncomfortable to hold.

If your vehicle has been sitting in the sun all day and is like a sauna, it’s best to open all the windows for a few minutes to expel the heat before turning on the air conditioning. Driving with the windows down will also force the hot air out much quicker.

For the best cooling results, once you have removed the hot air from the cabin, close all the windows and then use the air conditioning in recirculation mode. This will help circulate the already-cooled air, which is more efficient than continuously drawing in warm air from outside.

However, don’t use the recirculation mode for too long, as the air in the cabin could get a bit stuffy and make the driver drowsy. A blast of fresh air from an open window will help, or switch off the recirculation button and put the air con back into auto mode.

Does the air-conditioning use more fuel than having your windows down?

Driving with the windows down can create wind disturbance which lessens the vehicle’s aerodynamics, and means more effort is required to push the vehicle along. Air conditioning can put extra load on the engine while in operation, causing the engine to use more energy and so contribute in a small way to greater fuel usage. We would recommend a balanced compromise – perhaps wind the windows down at low speeds, and set the air con for use on the highway to reduce drag, cabin noise and disturbance.

It’s important to remember that a vehicle A/C system is run by a belt attached to the vehicle engine, so only operates when the engine is running. Don’t be fooled by the few seconds of cold air still circulating once the engine is switched off, vehicles can quickly become like an oven once the cool air stops.

Why do I have a puddle of water under the car after using the air con?

The chilled gas passing through the evaporator creates condensation which freezes and melts. It is then drained outside via a hose placed beneath your vehicle. If this hose is blocked or becomes disconnected, it can result in water leaking on to the cabin floor by your feet. So, if you don’t see a puddle forming after parking and you have used the air con, closer inspection may be needed to make sure everything is working as it should be. 

Keeping your air conditioning system operating effectively

Regular cleaning or replacement of the cabin filter (if equipped) will ensure the quality of the air drawn into the cabin is free from leaves, pollen and pollutants that can gradually clog the filter.

Over time, you may notice that the system isn’t as cold or effective as it once was. The refrigerant may gradually lose its pressure over time and it might require a simple top-up, or there may be a fault that has caused the gas to leak. If this happens, talk to your local mechanic and get your air conditioning system checked.

FOR SAFE RELIABLE MOTORING….. Car Problems and Solutions.

You are driving along the highway one day when you find your vehicle slowing down and eventually coming to a halt. You step out of your vehicle to find out what the problem is, but you can’t seem to figure out where the car defects are and what is the cause of these sudden malfunctions. Even the most skilled and competent vehicle owner will experience his fair share of mechanical issues and car problems.

The list of car faults is endless – from flat tyres, unstable steering wheels, and even a faulty engine, there are minor and major car issues that you might or might not be able to resolve on your own.

Reaching the destination safely is the best reward for any motorist! Should you encounter any motoring issues, remember that Drive Zimbabwe Roadside Assistance provides 24/7 Roadside Assistance Service for our Members and the motoring community. Whilst it’s possible to reduce your risk of breakdown, it’s an unfortunate reality that even the most expertly maintained and superbly driven vehicle may break down due to unforeseen circumstances. In these instances, Drive Zimbabwe Roadside Assistance breakdown cover can make all the difference. Call us or  Whatsapp at 0780 579 261/0718 084 297 / 0736 523 424 Email:info@drivezim.co.zw and Join Today. Follow us on  Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/105600827733427  and Twitter https://mobile.twitter.com/DriveZimbabwe  for more tips and guidance on how to keep yourself and your vehicle safe on the roads.

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