Air conditioning doesn’t just help keep your car cool on hot days.

In winter, air-con can help protect you from air pollution and keep you safe and comfortable when driving.

Switching your air conditioner on from time to time during the coldest months of the year can also help you avoid a large repair cost.

Using your car’s air conditioner during winter can:

  • Protect you from air pollution
  • Help demist your windows
  • Help keep your air conditioning system in good working order

How air-con protects you from pollution

Poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK, particularly in urban areas.

The average commuter spends close to an hour travelling to and from work each day. If you’re driving along the same polluted roads and stuck in the same traffic jams each day, air pollution can heighten your risk of cardiovascular or respiratory illness.

Researchers in the United States found that using your car’s air conditioning can cut in-car pollutants by up to 34%, stopping you and your passengers from breathing in pollutants.

This is even more important during the colder months, because atmospheric factors mean that air quality is usually lower in the winter time.

Why you should use air-con to de-mist your windows

Misty windows can be a real driving hazard during wintertime. Driving with misty windows is actually illegal because you are driving with impeded vision.

Unfortunately, demisting your car windows can be painfully slow, especially when you’ve got somewhere to be. But you can speed up the process by using your air conditioning.

Car windows steam up because the heat from your body or breath warms the inside of the car and increases moisture levels. When this warm, moist air hits your cold glass window, it condenses and leaves a mist or fog on the windscreen.

Using your car’s heater can help clear mist. But your air conditioner can also be used as a dehumidifier, producing nice dry air to counteract the moist air in the car.

Use your air-con to avoid hefty repair bills

Car air conditioning works in the same way as domestic fridges, using a compressor and refrigerant gas to keep your car cool.

Unfortunately, these systems can be fragile, especially if they aren’t switched on regularly to circulate lubricant and keep everything in good working order.

If you don’t use your car’s AC for a few months – say, over winter – it can start to break down, leading to system leaks and hefty repair bills.

Switching your car’s air conditioning on for even a few minutes every few weeks is all that’s necessary to keep everything in good working order.

Why does my air-con smell bad?

If you catch a bad odour coming out of your air conditioner, it could be a sign that you haven’t used it in a while.

This is usually caused by bacteria and mould which can build up in moist conditions when your ‘dry’ air conditioning system is seldom turned on.

You can try to eliminate the smell by running the air-con and cleaning in and around the vents, but if the problem persists then you may need to take it to a for a more thorough clean or to change the cabin filter.

Why is my air-con not blowing cold?

If your air conditioning doesn’t blow as cold as it used to it’s probably a sign that you need to regas your system.

Regassing means replacing the refrigerant gas that’s used in your AC system. A garage will be able to regas your system quickly and at a low cost.

Is air conditioning included in an MOT check or service?

Your car’s air conditioning is not critical to the safe running of your vehicle, so it’s not included in an MOT safety check.

Generally speaking, it’s not included in a standard service either. Service schedules are usually drawn up by the vehicle manufacturer to keep the car running in top condition. But many manufacturers also have a separate air con service schedule that will recommend regassing, on average, every two years.

Want to get your car’s air conditioning checked? Speak to a member of the team and we’ll gladly take a look or include it in your next service. Call: 0161 834 4168.

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