Your car’s air conditioning – the facts



With temperatures soaring we’re all keen to use our air con.

Does it use a lot of fuel? What is that strange smell? When do I need an air conditioning recharge?

Vospers blog uncovers the facts to help you keep your cool this summer.


Phew the temperatures have rocketed and we’re basking in glorious sunshine. Let’s hope we enjoy the sun for a few weeks longer as it is certainly putting everyone in a great mood. Travelling by car in the blistering sun though can leave you feeling more than a little bit hot and sweaty. This leaves most of us reaching for that air conditioning button. But what are the facts about the air conditioning in your car? Some drivers are put off from using it as they have heard it uses a lot of fuel, others get a strange smell from their system. The Vospers Blog team caught up with the experts at Vospers Plymouth Car Service centre to get the lowdown.


Does using the air conditioning use lots of extra fuel?

This is a common concern among motorists. Air conditioning systems on today’s new cars are certainly more efficient than their predecessors but they need fuel to operate. However, and this is a big however, a fear of using fuel means that some motorists refrain from using their air con and instead roll down the windows – big mistake. Studies, including one by the Society of Automotive Engineers in the US, have found that in general the wind drag caused by driving at average speeds of around 55mph or more actually uses more fuel than keeping the windows up and using the air conditioning.


What is that strange smell coming from my air conditioning?

So we’ve had a miserable winter and the summer was pretty slow in coming. You haven’t needed to use your air con all year until now. When you turn it on, phew, what is that whiff? As you may not have used your air conditioning system for some time, this allows bacteria and other nasties to build up on the evaporator. This is what causes the pong.

Vospers Plymouth Car Service Director, Gerry Jones, has this to say, “It isn’t particularly healthy to allow this to go on and if you’re experiencing this then it is a good idea to have your air conditioning service carried out by experts. You can even treat yourself and your car to an air conditioning fragrance bomb, a deodoriser which comes in various fragrances from vanilla to lemon and lime. Using your air conditioning regularly over cooler months will also help to maintain the system.”


Why don’t I feel cool when I turn on my air con?

Your air conditioning system uses a refrigerant gas to chill the air. As the system is used it uses up the gas over time. Sometimes leaks can also occur which drain the gas too.  If you don’t feel the chill when you turn on your air con then it is possible that you need a re gas or air conditioning recharge. With temperatures like the ones we have now you will be glad you got it fixed!


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