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201213 Jun

Car AC

I’m sure all of us realise the importance of the air-conditioner in the car. Especially, during those scorching summer days when the mercury journeys northward.  However, if truth be told, the poor air conditioner which works overtime during the summer months to ensure our comfort is often the most neglected part of the car. In fact, if you happen to randomly quiz motorists on the road, I can assure you that most people wouldn’t have a clue on how to properly maintain it. Well, for all those uninitiated souls here is a quick guide on how to maintain your car air conditioner. Read on to find out.


Read your owner’s manual

Let’s start with the bare basic. Remember the boring piece of booklet which was handed to you when you purchased the car with the word ‘Owner’s Manual’ written on it? Hoping that you haven’t misplaced it already, your owner’s manual has a maintenance list that states the typical life span of various parts for your car. Your car's air conditioner has several parts that include the compressor, evaporator, hoses and belts that eventually wear out with time and usuage. You need to replace these according to the maintenance guide or at the very first sign of wear and tear to keep your air conditioner running smoothly.


Periodic inspection

It is generally reccommended to have your car air conditioner inspected once every year, especially before the onset of the summer. The compressor drive belt needs to be inspected for damage and its tension adjusted. The level of refrigerant needs to be checked and replaced if required. All the hoses should be inspected for hardening, bubbles, cracks or leaks. Also have the mechanic look into the status of the air condioner's gas and top it up if required.


Even when not required, run it for a few minutes every month

Even during the months when you don’t need to use the air conditioner, maintain its coolant pressure by running the air conditioner once a month for at least 10 to 15 minutes. This helps prevent the hoses from hardening and the seals failing. Remember, that during these maintenance runs, you must turn the air conditioner to its coolest setting and highest fan speed.


Get rid of accumulated moisture

Make it a point to dry out the evaporator core after you have run the air conditioner for an extended period of time. You need to run the defrost for a few minutes to clean out any accumulated moisture. Just turn on the heater to a comfortable level, wait for just a few minutes and turn it off. This also prevents mildew and odors in the system.


Manual AC vs Climate Control

As you might already be aware, there is a distinctive difference between a manual air conditioner and climate control system. For example, say the temperature inside the passenger compartment of the car is 35 degrees and your preferred temperature is 25 degrees. Now in case of a manual air conditioner, you need to turn the AC knob and set the fan speed. After running the air conditioner for a few minutes, the temperature might dip to 30 degrees. And if you continue to run the air conditioner, then the temperature might further dip to your preferred 25 degrees or even lower still.

But in climate control, you don’t set the fan speed. Instead you just set temperature to say 25 degrees, and the system will automatically adjust the fan speed and the mode to maintain 25 degrees throughout your journey.

Also if you have been driving with the air conditioner on for a couple of hours, then there is a chance that the air inside tends to get stale and exude a certain odor. In such circumstances, you need to allow external air circulation inside the compartment for sometime to get rid of the trapped air before you can again switch back over to the internal air circulation mode. Both these functions have to be manually set in a normal air conditioner, unlike in a climate control system which does so automatically.


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