Getting the best performance from your air-con

When air-conditioners, heaters or climate control systems don’t work as they should, it’s not just temperature you need to worry about. Uncorrected faults can damage the compressor, leak pollutants and degrade the car’s fuel efficiency. Regular inspection of air-con systems is highly recommended.
 

Things that go wrong with air-conditioning

Air-conditioning systems are more complex than most drivers realise. They usually contain a compressor, pulley, belt, tensioner, clutch, refrigerant, valves, ducts, heating coil and a variety of electrical controls. The more the air-con is taxed by extreme weather, the more likely it is to develop a fault.
 
Refrigerant gases are a job for properly qualified technicians, not just any mechanic. Refilling with the wrong gas can spell disaster and there are strict government regulations regarding the handling and disposal of refrigerants.
 
Noise is a common issue. It is often caused by incorrect tension in the belt or pulley or worn clutch bearings. Buzzing or gurgling from the compressor can indicate an overly-high or low level of refrigerants. Left uncorrected, the compressor can be damaged.
 
Air-con problems can also be symptoms of problems elsewhere in the vehicle. For example, a diesel engine with poor fuel injection can damage the air-con clutch plate and pulley due to irregular torque. Your air-con could be giving you an early warning, but only suitably qualified fitters will spot this.
 
With today’s quieter engines, passengers become more conscious of noise generated by air conditioners and tyre contact with the road. Quieter rolling tyres can reduce some of this irritation. Sometimes you can swap to a smaller rim, which means more of the diameter consists of rubber, and all-season tyres are softer than summer ones.
 

Need a air-con regas?

Protyre offer air-con regas and lube service at many of our garages. Click the button below to book your vehicle in.

Book Air-con Regas
 

Simple habits to protect your air-con

How many of us remember to park in the shade in hot weather? Conversely, if it’s cold but sunny, park in the sun. When your air-con is less taxed, efficiency and reliability are improved.
 
To quickly flush hot air from a car, open the rear windows and set the fan to maximum. Once that’s done and the blower is cold, close the windows, set the fan low and switch to recirculation. Stick to this routine and your air-con will do less work.
 
Remember to have that air filter changed regularly, or you will burn more fuel drawing air through it.
 

Be prepared for extreme weather

If you routinely travel in extra cold or hot conditions, the wisdom of regular air-con checkups is obvious. A heater breakdown in a snow drift can be fatal, as can a broken cooler in the tropics. The qualified fitters at Protyre garages can provide service checks with a special focus on extreme weather conditions. You can book a free vehicle check online here on our site.
 
Also give some thought to your tyres. Some soften in hot weather, make more noise and consume fuel. Some stiffen and handle poorly in the cold. Consider changing to tyres optimised for high or low temperatures. Pirelli provides a wide range for wintery conditions, including; the Pirelli Cinturato Winter, Pirelli Sottozeros, Pirelli Scorpion Winter, and the Pirelli Winter Snowsports.
 
Bridgestone seems to like it hotter. Their premium summer tyres include the Bridgetone Turanza, Bridgestone Ecopia, and Bridgestone Dueler Alenza.

About the author

Dean Richardson

Dean is a Regional Director for Protyre who is also responsible for the running of our Protech Academy. The ...

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