Once upon a time, air-conditioning in cars was the ultimate luxury, available only on the most expensive cars. Now it’s a standard feature in the most affordable cars on our roads even the small Dacia Sandero city cars offer it. But drivers often think that it will be more economical and save on fuel if they don’t use it over winter, when the air rarely needs cooling.
So the question is this: to chill or not to chill in winter?
Should you switch a car’s air-conditioning off in winter?
Air-conditioning expert Stephen Palmer our Group Aftersales Manager, has been servicing cars’ air-conditioning systems for many years. In his view, switching off a car’s air-conditioning system for weeks on end when the weather is cold, and perhaps only running it occasionally, is a mistake.
Why should drivers use air-con in winter weather?
Air-conditioning is the best way to dehumidify, or dry, damp air. With it running, the inside of a car’s windows won’t mist up; switch it off and it could seem as though you’re driving in dense fog. Equally, using the air-conditioning is a great way of de-misting the car if it steams up when you first get in it on a cold day.
Why else would it be wrong to switch off air-con in winter?
“Air-conditioning systems use refrigerant,” says Steve Palmer , “and that carries a special oil that lubricates the compressor’s pistons or vanes. So if you leave it switched off for long periods, there’s a chance the compressor could seize.”
Steve says modern cars are moving back to more reliable clutch mechanisms that switch off the compressor by closing circulation valves once that chilled air is no longer needed. Also, any rubber piping features seals, and those seals depend on the circulating refrigerant to keep them lubricated and prevent shrinking which causes leaks.
Air-conditioning not working? Check it for leaks before re-gassing
We can explain: “Air-conditioning systems are essentially sealed systems and there shouldn’t be natural wastage as modern cars increasingly use as much metal pipework as possible. So if a system needs re-charging, it’s likely to have a leak.” Our company has been tending to air-conditioning systems for over 40 years, and we suggest before drivers have their car’s system re-gassed, they should first have it pressure tested (using a special dye) to detect leaks – or it could be money down the drain. At John Banks we do this for you in a service
How much does air-con affect fuel consumption?
Most motoring Groups agree that running your car’s air-conditioning system is no more likely to reduce its fuel consumption than leaving a window open. That means a drop in mpg (miles per gallon) of approximately six per cent.
When a compressor can cost at least £1000 to replace, and helps keep windows free from condensation, you can see why drivers would be well advised to leave their car’s system running this winter.
How much is a Honda Air Conditioning Service?
*Our air conditioning re-gas service is for vehicles using R134A refrigerant only. This is £65.00 including VAT
We also provide a re-gas service for vehicles using R1234YF refrigerant. This is subject to quotation but is normally £115.00
Please check your vehicle handbook to identify which air conditioning refrigerant your vehicle requires.
How often should Air Conditioning be serviced?
We recommend having your air conditioning system serviced with gas and lubricant every two years to keep it running efficiently
Can I get it checked before I pay for a Service?
At John Banks our expert qualified technicians conduct free air conditioning temperature checks in our Vehicle Health Checks to ensure that your system is working efficiently. If all is well - there is nothing to pay. If your system needs an antibacterial clean (to prevent the cause of germs in your car) or a recharge, we can carry out the work while you wait.
Is Air Conditioning covered in my regular Service Schedule?
Air conditioning checks are not part of your cars annual service so it's up to you to have it checked, with any car over two years old able to benefit from a re-gas. If you would like to see what other vehicle services we offer then please see our Car Servicing page.
What is an Air Conditioning Anti-bacterial Clean?
Air conditioning units are prone to accumulating bacteria and dirt, which can impact its effectiveness, especially after long periods without use. An air conditioning anti-bacterial clean restores your car's air conditioning filters, bringing back the crisp, cool air that should be coming out from your vents.
At John Banks Group we offer air conditioning recharge, anti-bacterial clean and an air-con bundle package for cars, vans and 4x4s at competitive prices.
Signs of Problems with Car Air Conditioning:
For a fresh car throughout the year you need to ensure that the air conditioning system is full, working order. If you think your air conditioning could be in need of a service, there are some common tell-tale signs that you need to look out for.
The most common complaint with air conditioning comes when the vents stop blowing cold air. More often than not, this is the first sign your car is due an air conditioning re-gas. Our experts are able to check the air conditioning lubricant and refrigerant levels in line with the manufacturer's recommendations to make it as good as new.
Look out for a musty smell coming from your car's air conditioning; this is especially common if your air-con hasn't been used for long periods and usually means that your air filter is in need of an anti-bacterial clean to remove any bacteria build up on your filters.
Book now at any of our Service Centres - Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds or Ipswich
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