5 Must-Know Tips to Keep Your Car Air Conditioning Efficient

The return of good weather, long-awaited by most of us, is sometimes accompanied by heat more or less bearable, especially in the car … So, let’s turn the air conditioning back on! But be careful: to ensure its efficiency when you need it, it is essential to take care of it all year long.

Let’s also pay attention to the few little warning signals the air conditioning system could be sending us. Even though it’s never a big deal, regular monitoring and maintenance are essential to ensure that your air conditioner responds to the first signs of heat.

Here are 5 simple things you can do to keep your air conditioner running smoothly and efficiently!

1. Keep your air conditioning running, even in winter!

Air conditioning doesn’t like extended periods of inactivity at all! This can lead to refrigerant gas leaks, as the seals harden and are no longer under pressure. 

So don’t wait until late spring! Even in winter, remember to run your air conditioner for a few minutes, at least once every two weeks. 

Good to know: use your air conditioner to defog your windows in any season! It acts as a humidity vacuum cleaner and allows you to have good visibility in only a few seconds. 

2. Remember to recharge your air conditioner.

Car Air Conditioning


The air conditioner works thanks to a refrigerant gas which, little by little, ends up evaporating naturally. The less gas there is in the system, the less efficient your system is. And when there is no more gas at all, it stops blowing out fresh air, but it would still be blowing hot air!

It would help if you did a refill of this gas every two or three years. This is a straightforward and relatively inexpensive operation (about $60 in a car center), which guarantees the air conditioning’s good and long-lasting functioning.

Good to know: for old vehicles (more than 15 years old), another gas is used than the one used for current cars. This gas is becoming difficult to find because car professionals sometimes no longer have any. In this case, call a refrigeration specialist to have the gas refilled. 

3. Get rid of air conditioning odors

Does your air conditioner smell like mildew when you start it up? This is an unfortunately frequent symptom! You must proceed in stages.

First, check the condition of the cabin filter, which is often located under the windshield wipers, under the glove compartment, or in the engine compartment (consult your vehicle’s manual if you can’t find it). Usually, it can be removed fairly easily. If you notice that it’s dirty, it’s time to change it!

Then, once the new filter is installed, if the smell persists, check the state of the desiccant bottle, whose role is to suck out the humidity. If it is full, it should be replaced. But that’s a job for the professionals!

4. Speed up for fresher air!

Car Air Conditioning


Be aware that the motor drives the air conditioning compressor. Therefore, very cool air can only be produced when accelerating.

At idle speed, the engine will not run fast enough to ensure optimal compressor performance. 

Important: Remember that your air conditioner consumes gasoline since it requires extra power from the engine!

5. Turn off the air conditioning before switching off the car

The mechanism of your air conditioning has a specific shut-off device… It doesn’t like to be forced to stop! So, to ensure its longevity, get into the habit of turning off the air conditioning manually a few seconds before turning off the engine. 

This small gesture will save many hours of operation for your compressor, which is very expensive to replace (over $700 depending on the model).

A well-tuned and well-used air conditioner will really be more efficient and resistant! And, don’t forget to close the windows when using the AC: you will gain even more efficiency.

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