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With summer the heat has arrived and to combat it at the wheel there is nothing better than the air conditioning of the car. There is no doubt that, in addition to comfort, this system is vital for road safety, since excess heat during driving can cause distractions, drowsiness and other consequences that conflict with a pleasant and safe trip.
OPTIMAL AND EFFICIENT USE
Although its use is vital, it is advisable to follow a few steps to guarantee maximum comfort and, in turn, efficiency, since air conditioning significantly affects the consumption of the vehicle. So much so, that consumption can increase between 5 and 20%, so you have to learn to use it in the most efficient way possible. First of all, it will be necessary to check that the air conditioning system works perfectly and that it has not deteriorated, something that would contribute to further increase the problem.
It is advisable not to lower the temperature too much | Photo: Agencies
After checking the system, there are some actions that will allow you to use it efficiently. First of all, it will be necessary to try to reduce the interior temperature before starting because the high temperatures will demand more energy and fuel to start the air, so lowering a window and on the opposite side opening and closing the door will serve to comply with the objective. Then you have to implement measures such as alternating the air conditioning with the outside air intake, if you are driving at less than 90 km / h, when the aerodynamic resistance hardly weighs in the consumption, or keeping the car between 21 and 23 degrees, because being below implies a significant and unnecessary fuel consumption. In fact, the threshold temperature suitable to conduct is around between 20 and 23 degrees.
Although the guidelines are clear, there are common mistakes that all drivers make with their air conditioning. These are some examples and some tips to optimize the use of the system:
Keep the air recirculation button activated. This is one of the most classic errors since, keeping it pressed, according to Ángel Suárez, an engineer at the Seat Technical Center, “favors the windows to fog up”. Likewise, Suárez advises driving with the Auto option turned on so that “the air flow is self-regulating, more homogeneous and more efficient in use,” he says.
The diffusers must face the ceiling | Photo: Seat
Do not activate the air because the morning is ‘cool’. Depending on the area where we are, some summer mornings can be cool. Despite this, it is advisable to “activate the air conditioning of the car, even with the highest temperature”, this will prevent the windows from fogging up when the outside temperature rises slightly.
Not focusing the diffusers correctly. Sometimes passengers think that directing the diffusers to the face will get rid of the heat. However, “the diffusers have to be focused upwards, and not towards the face.” With this simple gesture it is achieved that “the air is distributed throughout the car and that it reaches all the passengers in a uniform way”, explains Suárez.
Forget maintenance. Like oil, wheels or brake fluid, the air conditioning system in cars also needs specific maintenance. It is recommended to change the filters every 15,000 or 20,000 kilometers, so “neither flow nor force will be lost when the air comes out”, adds Ángel Suárez.
The air conditioning system of a vehicle is made up of a closed circuit of flexible tubes through which the refrigerant gas flows. As it is a closed circuit, there should be no leaks and therefore it would not be necessary to recharge it either. However, over time small leaks are created which can result in loss of gas. That is why, in principle, a recharge every two years could be sufficient, although it is advisable to have a car checked every year to detect other problems.
Correct maintenance, as always, is vital | Photo: Agencies
If the car is not able to properly cool the cabin, it could also be because the pollen filter is damaged or clogged by excessive dirt, or there is an electrical problem in the system. The main symptoms of a poor condition of the components of the air conditioning system are a lower level of cooling, an unpleasant musty smell when turned on, or that it is not able to demist the windows quickly.
In any case, it is best to go to a reputable workshop to review the problem and remedy it. In the case of a recharge, the price is around 60 euros, more in official dealers. If any other component is damaged, the price will depend on the type, the vehicle and the brand.