Getting The Most Cool Out Of Your Car's Air Conditioning

July 7, 2020
Vehicle air conditioning knob

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Probably the most loved feature of any car is the air conditioning, especially in summer. Surprisingly even the most experienced A/C enthusiast might be using the feature incorrectly causing it to not cool efficiently and to use more fuel. For example, chances are you've started the car and turned on the air conditioning to the maximum setting before departing so that you car's interior cools down. While that sounds good on paper, it is very inefficient and costing you money. Your car air conditioning works much better when you're actually driving, because the faster the engine turns, the faster the A/C compressor runs, which lets the system cool more effectively. If the interior is really hot, crank up the fan when you start driving, and open just the rear windows for 10 to 20 seconds. This forces all the hot air out of the cabin. Don’t open the front windows—that only moves the heat out of the front of the car, and it will leave the air in the back of the cabin hot and stagnant. Go ahead and set your A/C to the coldest setting. In a typical A/C system, the air is cooled to 38°F. If you set the temp higher, you are actually forcing the system to re-heat your air, which takes more effort, burning more fuel. Use the fan to adjust the temperature instead. However, if you have automatic climate control, lowering the temp doesn't make the car cool off faster. Most systems will do all the fan and temp adjustments automatically, so you can just set it and forget it. Finally, make sure your cabin air filter is clean.  Most are accessible behind the glove compartment and easy to replace yourself.

SOURCE: Consumer Reports

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