There are a few things to look out for when it comes to signs that your air con might need some attention. One, perhaps pretty logically, is if it stops producing cold air.
If you notice your air con pumping out warm air, then it might mean you need an air con gas recharge. We’ll talk a little more about what that involves below.
Some other things to look for are if you notice a damp or musty smell when your air con is in use. Air con systems should smell neutral, so any sort of nasty smells could indicate mould, dust, or other potential issues collecting in your system.
Finally, if you hear any strange noises coming from your air con system, such as hissing or grinding, then these are telltale signs that something’s gone wrong in there. If you do encounter unusual noises when turning on your air con, it’s best to contact a professional to get things checked.
Even if you don’t notice any specific issues, you’ll probably find that your air-con system begins to gradually perform poorer over time as it did when new. That’s because, to stay working well, car air con systems need regular maintenance . Unfortunately, this is something that most drivers either don’t realise or fail to do.
Air-con regassing is the most common fix. It involves removing the old refrigerant gas from your air conditioning system before replacing it with new refrigerant, helping everything to start running cold again.
There are some other potential causes of air-con issues, such as refrigerant leaks, but your mechanic will be able to check if this is the case when you take your car in for its appointment.
But what can you do to improve your air con performance?
Once you know that your air con gas is recharged, or any issues are addressed, you can hit the road.
Do keep in mind, though, that the air con needs a second to cool down properly once a car starts. So, when you’re just setting off, consider opening the windows initially before powering up the air con. This helps let some of the warm air escape while your air con gets going. Stick with a low level of power initially till you can feel cool air, and then whack it up as high as you wish.
After all, why start at the max level if it’s chucking out warm air?
Once your air con’s woken up, and your car is being pumped full of gloriously-chilled air, try these little tricks to help you stay as cool as a cucumber for as long as possible.
Make sure that your air vents are angled to pump air around as much of the car as possible, rather than aiming them all at your own face (as tempting as that can be). You want the air flow to circulate around the car in order to keep the whole interior cool for longer.
In the same vein, make sure your active recirculation mode is switched on, so that hot air from outside doesn’t keep being pumped back inside. You want to trap the cool air inside the car, and save your air con from having to constantly work to cool the warm air from outside.
Try to remember that an air con recharge or regas should usually happen around every two years. So, booking your car in proactively can be a great plan. Air con also isn’t inspected during an MOT or service, meaning that independent attention is required to keep things running smoothly.