Drivers urged to make air con checks or risk fuel consumption rise
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With the colder weather still a few weeks off, drivers may still be keeping their air conditioning blasting on their journeys. According to Kwik Fit, using air conditioning can increase fuel usage by as much as 10 percent.
It added that the effects of this are particularly noticeable on shorter journeys.
When setting off, the air con has to work hard to bring the internal temperature down to a suitable level for the driver.
Once the car has cooled enough, the drivers can choose to reduce the flow rate, increase the temperature or turn it off altogether.
However, on a longer journey, it is unlikely that the air conditioning will need to be running the whole time.
Drivers are being advised to top up their air conditioning coolant regularly, just like oils and other liquids in the vehicle.
Most manufacturers recommend a recharge every two years, but be sure to check the vehicle’s handbook for further guidance.
If the air conditioning levels are reducing faster than expected, a driver could have a leak in their system, which could emit harmful gases into the environment if not checked.
To regas or recharge an air con system, the coolant will need to be drained, refilled and key parts of the system re-lubricated to ensure all is working efficiently.
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While motorists can buy DIY kits to regas your air conditioning system themselves, it’s not advisable if they’ve never done it before.
The kits themselves are almost as expensive as paying a specialist to do it – and road users could be left with an expensive repair bill if anything goes wrong.
Dan Gick, Managing Director of Scrap Car Comparison, stressed the importance of checking the air conditioning more frequently.
He said: “Your car’s air conditioning system can be a real life saver during a heat wave, but it’s important to carry out regular checks throughout the year to ensure everything is working efficiently when the temperatures outside start to rise.
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“Consult your vehicle’s handbook for further information on the inner workings of your air conditioning system, and stick to the service schedule to ensure any issues are spotted early.
“If you do notice that your air conditioning system isn’t working, you should contact a professional technician to carry out checks and any repairs as soon as possible.
“A malfunctioning system not only leaves the passengers in your car feeling the heat, but it can also drain power, fuel and lead to an overheating engine.”
Drivers should also clean their air conditioning system regularly to clear out any dust or liquid which could build up over time.
Regular cleaning will reduce the risk of unpleasant smells and malfunction over time, which is often caused by the build-up of bacteria, dust and debris.
Over the winter months, drivers should still run the air conditioning system to ensure everything is running correctly.
This should only be done for around 10 minutes every week, with drivers being told to make sure the system is set at the highest speed.
It should also be on the coolest setting to test the system to its maximum capability.
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