The snow has finally melted, you’re breaking out the shorts and spring has sprung. Pretty soon it’ll be blazing hot, and you’ll be itching to hit the A/C button in your vehicle. But, wait! Before you smash that button and crank down that temperature gauge, take a few minutes to ensure your vehicle’s air conditioner is ready to go.
We’re going to give you a quick checklist to run through before you run your air conditioner for the first time, plus we’ll give you a few tips to keep that baby running smoothly through the heat of the summer. Cool? Let’s go (in climate-controlled comfort)!
Your A/C Checklist
Start On Low – The first time you fire up the ol’ A/C after a long winter, don’t go for the gusto. Keep the fan setting on low and slowly increase it as the air conditioner begins to cool down.
Check Your Vents – Once you’ve started the A/C, check and make air is blowing out of all the vents. You should also check to be sure that dust or other particles aren’t coming out of the vents.
Check The Filter – Your cabin air filter is an incredibly important part of your vehicle’s climate control system. Generally, it’s a good idea to change your filter every 6-12 months. Or to be safe, swapping out a new filter at the beginning of winter and summer every year is not a terrible idea. Keep in mind that your cabin air filter is different than your engine’s air filter so make sure you check and replace the correct type of filter. Here’s a guide to help.
Your Nose Knows – Even after a long winter’s break, your vehicle’s air conditioner shouldn’t smell musty or dirty when you run it for the first time. If you smell odors consistently when you run your A/C, that may be a sign of a larger issue.
Check for Leaks – This can be tricky because when your A/C is running normally, you’ll notice small puddles of water underneath your vehicle. This is condensation that is being channeled and drained out of the underside of your vehicle. However, if this hose gets clogged you could start to see leaks in your vehicle’s interior. If you’re concerned about coolant leaks, it’s best to have a professional check your A/C system, since the process of finding coolant leaks can be time-consuming and complex.
Have a Pro Check It Out – Most of our checklist items here are simple, DIY tasks. But if you’re concerned about a larger issue with your vehicle’s air conditioner, you should have a professional check your A/C system. As mentioned above things like coolant leaks can be tricky to track down, and if you’re not comfortable doing any of these checks yourself, we’re happy to steer you in the right direction…
Okay, you’ve got your A/C all checked out and ready to go. Nice work! Now, as a bonus, here are just a couple of easy ways you can keep your air conditioner on point through the summer heat.
Vent the Heat
This may sound counterintuitive, but hear us out. When getting into a hot car, don’t turn on your air conditioner and wait for it to cool down. You should get in, start your car, get moving, turn on your A/C and roll down your windows. It’s true! Even on very hot days, it’s always going to be warmer in your car than outside. Rolling down your windows lets the hot air out of your car, cooling it quicker. PLUS, your air conditioning system (and its compressor) works more efficiently when the engine is moving faster.
A typical A/C system will automatically cool air to around 38 degrees. So setting your A/C to anything above the lowest temperature forces your climate-control system to reheat the air. This means that your air conditioning system works more efficiently (and may save fuel!) at the coldest setting.
Ditch the Stop/Start Feature
Many newer cars come equipped with a feature that will automatically shut off the engine momentarily during stops. While it may save fuel, it will also keep the air conditioning system’s compressor running even with the engine turned off. In hot weather, not only will you’ll notice a definite lack of cool air at longer stops, but this may also tax your A/C compressor more than necessary.
With high temperatures, long road trips, and more people out and about, the summer can be hard on your vehicle and your air conditioning. If you ever have any questions about your car, or if you’re involved in a summertime fender bender, give us a shout at eustisbodyshop.com.