Air Conditioning Operating and Maintenance Tips

May 05, 2024 - 4 minute read

Tips for getting your Air Conditioning in Top Shape!

Summer is coming. Now that air conditioning is pervasive, especially in our cars, we can look forward to it more than ever. Summer is the season of play and vacations. But if those vacations are by car, nothing can ruin a summer trip more than an air conditioning system that is not up to the job. Krusen Motors offers the following air conditioning operating and maintenance tips to keep your system working its best.

Open Your Windows First And Engage Your AC After You Are Moving

If the car has been baking in the sun, it will cool down much quicker if you open up the vehicle after getting in. You have all the window buttons on the driver’s door, so open them all up once you enter your car. No matter how hot it is outside, your cabin will likely be hotter. Your AC ducts are likely to be warm as well, so that first bit of air isn’t expected to be cool, but it will help blow the hot air out of your car while it starts to cool down. After about a minute of driving, close the windows and adjust the AC controls for your comfort. This will cool your cabin more quickly.

Use the Fresh Air Setting As the Default

When the outside air contains smoke, dust, foul odors, or very high humidity, you want to use the recirculation mode of your climate control system to keep all that out. The rest of the time, using the fresh air setting is best. The recirculating mode keeps using the same cabin air repeatedly, and over a long period, this can make the car stuffy and even make the driver sleepy. Bring in outside air whenever possible.

Use the Coldest Setting

If your vehicle does not have automatic climate control, dialing the coldest temperature is actually the most efficient and effective. Most cooling systems can bring the cabin down by 30 degrees. At that point, a middling setting might activate the heater, which stresses both systems. Set the temperature control to the coolest setting and then regulate your comfort by turning the fan down or directing the vents away from you.

Monitor Engine Temperature when the Engine is Experiencing High Load

If your vacation includes driving through mountains, be aware of the stress that your engine may be undertaking during a long incline. Chances are you will be doing this with the AC on, a vehicle full of family and their stuff, and possibly towing a trailer. If you see the temperature rising, shutting off the AC is the first measure. It may be uncomfortable for a few minutes, but turning on the heat at full blast also helps cool the engine. If the temperature continues to climb, find a place for the car to stop and cool down. Then, proceed without the AC until the grade lessons. 

Read the Air Condition Section of the Owner’s Manual

Yes, that thick little book stored in your glove box is meant to be read and can provide helpful tips that apply to your specific model’s climate control system. It will tell you how and when to change your cabin filter. It may also have advice on routine AC maintenance, including how often to have your refrigerant pressure checked. In general, it is a good idea to have the refrigerant checked at least once before every summer.

Keep AC Induction Vents Clear

Your climate system brings in the outside air through the vents on your vehicle’s exterior near the base of the windshield. These vents tend to collect leaves, pine needles, bugs, and bits of nature blowing in the wind. If left long enough, they may decompose and plug water drains. That runs the risk of the organic matter developing mold, which can then be blown into the cabin. Check the vents regularly, like when you check your oil. 

Be Aware of these Odors

Odors can linger after a smoker or pet has been in the car, but there are certain odors from your climate control vents you want to watch out for. A musty or mildew odor may be from mold accumulating by your induction vents. Clear out your vents regularly, as mentioned above, and run your heater for a while, which may help dry out these areas. An antifreeze leak can emit a distinctly sweet smell. A professional should service this. A gas smell could come from something as simple as an improperly tightened gas cap. Check the cap, but if it persists, it could also be a leak in the fuel system, which should be looked at quickly.

These few tips may help you stay comfortable through the summer months. If you need help with what is covered here, inquire with our Krusen Motors service professionals about the appropriate next steps.

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