Car Aircon Cleaning: Best 10 Car Air Conditioning Maintenance Tips
As the heatwaves continue, and the scorching sun greets you in the face every day, and the sweat drips from the forehead, you know it is time to crank up the air-conditioner and embrace the blast of chilled air filling in the cabin. But, wait a second, like any other car component, your air conditioner doesn’t work on just appreciation. Regular aircon maintenance, repair, and even cleaning are needed to help it produce the cold air that we appreciate very much after a long hot day.
Air Con is a very integral part of any vehicle, and its use is not limited to just the summer season. If you’re a wise car owner, you know an air-conditioner can do a lot even when the temperature outside drops to very low levels. That being said, it is a known fact that air-conditioners work harder during the summers. The extra stress demands a little more care, a few maintenance tips, and of course, following the service schedule.
This article focuses on the 10 best aircon maintenance tips that would help you to keep this essential component up and working.
Let’s get started!
The importance of recharge in the air-conditioning system is often overlooked even by the most seasoned driver. The aircon system might not demand the kind of attention that other parts do, but it does work a lot to provide the cabin with cold air. The work involves the circulation of refrigerant through the various components, to cool down the air before it is distributed through the vents into the cabin.
Aircon maintenance becomes essential since the refrigerant demands regular top-ups to maintain the efficient working of the system. It is said that an average air-conditioner should be topped up/replaced with a refrigerant every two years or so. If you notice a dip in the performance of the air-conditioner, or simply haven’t recharged it for a while, it would be a good idea to take it into a service centre. Furthermore, many aircon systems are also a victim of refrigerant leakage of refrigerant. Make sure you have it professionally checked if there is a constant need for recharge and poor functioning.
Now that you have it recharged, it is time for the #2 aircon maintenance tips.
2. Regularly Clean
Car aircon cleaning is a very crucial task for the optimal functioning and efficient working of the system. Similar to any other component that has a build-up during the functioning period, an aircon system also needs to be cleaned and scrubbed regularly. A dirty filter is not only inefficient but might lead to bigger and more expensive issues when left untreated. Moreover, the blocking of airflow would demand extra work from the aircon system, which would lead to more stress on the engine, thereby affecting the overall working and fuel economy of the vehicle.
The interior of the aircon system is susceptible to bacteria build-up, which calls for regular cleaning, dusting, and even vacuuming by professionals. This also helps to prevent the accumulation of dust and debris, keeping the airflow uninterrupted and the cabin fresh and odour-free. When you go in for a regular service check, ensure that your mechanic takes a look at the air filter/pollen filter, and cleans or replaces it; as need be. A good idea is to get it cleaned before the summers.
Another very uncommon but essential car aircon cleaning tip is to keep the radiator clean. Since the AC condenser is situated in front of the radiator in the car engine, any overheating may be transferred to the condenser, thereby, disrupting the entire working mechanism. A clean and topped up radiator would not overheat and, therefore, prevent the entire mishap.
3. The Recirculation Hack
Many car owners advocate the use of the recirculation button for the efficient working of the aircon system. However, if you use it without paying heed to how it works and how you can make use of the button effectively, it won’t help your cause much.
The idea is not to push the recirculation button right when you switch on the car and sit inside. It makes the air-con system circulate the existing hot air in the cabin, thereby beating its main purpose. The aircon maintenance tips say that you should turn off the recirculation button for a while, allowing cold air to enter the cabin from the compressor. Once the optimal temperature is reached, turn on the recirculation mechanism. It will help it to work with what is already in the cabin, but with much fresher and cooler air.
Recirculation can lead to misting up of the windows. If you encounter this, open the windows a little to allow the mist to clean up. Another word of caution – while using the recirculation system, you should pay enough attention to the rear-seat passengers. While the aircon system pulls the air from the front and cools it, the air at the back can be warm and stale, and therefore, unhealthy. If you have the latest car model, the latest technology allows you to use the ‘auto’ mode, which self-regulates the circulation process, keeping the inside of the cabin cool.
4. The Pre-cooling Myth
We have had many car owners believing pre-cooling gives a boost to the overall efficiency of the system and the coolness of the air in the cabin. Of course, the idea behind it is a tempting one. When the summers are at their peak, everyone likes to sit in a cool cabin with no scorching hot seats or the humid-packed interiors. However, the pre-cooling idea is a flawed one, and here’s why.
Firstly, your car air conditioner system works better when the engine is running. The idea comes from the fact that the compressor (an essential component of the aircon) works faster when the engine is running. Going through the hassle of pre-cooling is not worth it, since your system won’t be working efficiently.
Secondly, pre-cooling affects the air conditioner’s performance, since it can cool things more effectively when there is airflow. Therefore, a still car won’t do much.
The better idea would be to let the hot air out of the car by sliding a window or opening the doors, and once you start driving, crank up the air-conditioner.
A pretty effective aircon maintenance tip!
5. The Correct Way to Shut Down
It is a very common habit to switch off the engine without switching off the air-conditioning. It does make things quick and easy to crank down the engine when you reach the destination, but it is not very good for your aircon system. If we are talking about aircon maintenance tips, we have to address this very common issue.
If you switch off the engine without first turning off the aircon, the fan keeps running and leads to the build-up of moss and bacteria. A switched-off and rested air-conditioner will clear the evaporator and the nearby components, avoid any growth of moss and bacteria, and keep the air fresh, good-smelling, and healthy. It will also help your aircon last longer.
6. Keep it in the Shade
This isn’t exactly a car aircon cleaning or maintenance tip, but it does work well during the summer, especially when you do not want to be greeted with a hot cabin. The obvious thing is to avoid parking in the direct sunlight. It will not only make the cabin humid and your steering wheel a part of hell, but might also damage the upholstery, leather seats, and even the dashboard.
Find a shady spot to park your car, especially while parking for the entire day. It would be best if the sun is behind you that will help keep the steering wheel and the front seats much cooler and comfortable. Moreover, a very hot cabin means extra pressure on the car A/c to get the temperature down. And we don’t want to do that!
7. The Correct Angle
Let’s all collectively agree that facing the air filters on the face and hair while coming back from a hot place almost feels like heaven. But as much joy as that would spread within you, it is not the most efficient way to let the air-conditioner do its job.
The ultimate aim is to make the cabin air cooler, such that the heat from the outside makes no difference to the inside. But, when you keep the air jets pointed to the face, the airflow is not equally distributed. It leads to no significant difference in the cabin air. However, aiming the vents upwards or towards the roof assists in dispersing the cool air more evenly, & thereby making the whole process more effective and efficient.
8. Run your Aircon Weekly
Everyone’s Air-conditioner usage is different and scattered. While one may be driving for hours on a straight road without any interruptions, the other might be going through rough roads for a little while. To optimise the functioning of the compressor, and to keep the gas pressure at an optimum level, we recommend running the air-conditioner for 10 minutes straight. Set it to the coolest setting along with the fan on the fasteast speed, and let it work. Do this once every week, and you will notice fresher air, better cooling, and a drop-down in the mechanical issues. It also helps to avoid any build-up of moisture or moss.
9. Keep it shut!
A lot of car drivers tend to roll down the windows with the air-conditioner blasting at full power. The idea behind this is that air from the outside as well as from the aircon will make it cooler. However, it works on flawed logic and does more harm than good.
With the entry of outside air into the cabin, the air conditioning system will not work efficiently. In fact, it will put an additional strain on the system, making it work harder for the same level of cooling. Not only is this a strain on the air-con system, but it will also make the engine work harder, leading to a less efficient fuel economy. Not to mention, your coolant will be consumed more. This could lead to large repairs in the end.
A good aircon maintenance tip is to keep the window shut and secure!
10. Service Schedules & Checks
It’s not rocket science to understand that your vehicle needs regular inspection and service to help it work efficiently. Similar to any other car component, the air-con system also works on the system of regular maintenance and checks.
Make sure you take your car to a regular and reliable car air conditioning service. The expert eye allows them to spot the issues under the hood; any sneaky leak, or any other lubrication issue, etc. The air-conditioning performance improves considerably, giving you the freshest, coolest cabin air for scorching sun days.
Looking for a reliable service centre can be extremely difficult. We at Acton Service Centre provide a range of air-conditioning services and checks, allowing you to efficiently enjoy the cool air.
Now that you have all the ten aircon maintenance tips up your sleeve, you’re all geared up for the summer. If you have doubts or queries, feel free to comment below. If you’re looking to book an appointment with us, here’s the link.
For more such articles, keep watching this space.