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We’ve all heard them. From mates, relatives, on the internet, well-meaning strangers – but not all ‘tips’ are in your vehicle’s best interest.

We answer some of the most common Car Air Conditioning myths and misconceptions.

 

Driving with the windows down uses less fuel than driving with the AC on? 

Mostly TRUE

This is probably one of the most common ones that pop up around Car Air Conditioning and there have been many instances where this has been put to the test. However, it is quite difficult to have a clearly defined answer. Fuel efficiency is dependent on so many factors such as the vehicle, speed, aerodynamics, temperature and driving conditions that it is hard to prove this myth true or false. In many of the tests, there was a reduction in fuel efficiency when using the air conditioner, however, in most cases, it was very insignificant. In the end, it is up to you as to whether sweltering through Summer (and dealing with complaining passengers) is worth the trade-off of saving a bit of fuel.

You only need to use your Car Air Conditioning in Summer

FALSE

Your vehicle’s AC system is made up of several moving parts that rely on lubrication to keep them working at peak performance. When your AC system is not used for a couple of weeks or more, these parts sit idle. Without lubrication in the system, the seals, valves, hoses and connections in the various components of your AC can often dry out. When this happens they are at risk of cracking, splitting or disintegrating. A lack of oil moving around the system regularly can also wreak havoc on your compressor, potentially causing it to seize or fail internally.

We advise everyone to use their car’s AC system at least once a week, even in Winter. Not only will this help to keep the system lubricated it will also help to detect any potential issues before they become major repairs.

When your Car Air Conditioning loses gas you just need to get it topped up. 

FALSE

Your Air Conditioning is a completely sealed system so, in an ideal situation, the gas should not go anywhere. However, like many other parts of your vehicle, the components of your AC system are susceptible to wear and tear over time. Some common causes of faults include cracked valves, seals or hoses, blocked or contaminated cabin filters, faulty components and damaged parts. If the gas levels are low in your AC system chances are it has leaked out somewhere. 

Not using your Car Air Conditioning saves the gas from being used up. 

FALSE

The gas or refrigerant in your AC system is continually cycled through the various components. It doesn’t get ‘used up’ by the system. So if you find your system is low on gas, it is highly likely that there is a leak somewhere. As we mentioned earlier, it can be more detrimental to not use your AC system regularly so using it at least once a week can potentially extend the performance of your Air Con. 

You can keep using your AC as usual even when it’s low on gas. 

TRUE in some cases but NOT RECOMMENDED

If you have noticed that your Air Con has gone hot, airflow is reduced or it stopped working entirely, it could mean the system is low on gas or there could be something more substantial going on. If this happens to your vehicle, we’d suggest getting your AC system inspected by a licenced technician as soon as possible. Continuing to use your AC system when it is not performing properly, has the potential to cause damage to the system, which could mean more costly repairs.

 

Want to Learn More about your car’s Air Conditioning System? Check out these videos!