Judging by the stifling humidity that's been on the attack this week, summer has already arrived. It might even be Singapore's summer. Car air-conditioning will be getting a beating this year if this heat preview is anything to go by - which means time to get it checked or face ever-increasing fuel consumption and ever-dwindling cold-on-demand.
Barry Rogers, manager of Auckland Auto Air, told Driven, "A car's air-conditioning system is made up of a compressor, evaporator, fan and condenser which sits in front of the radiator. Leaks and component issues vary depending on the car, so it pays to have it checked regularly."
Here are a number of ways to maintain your car's air-conditioning and ensure long life and the best results from the system.
Let it run:
Running the air-con for 10 minutes every week should prevent hardening of hoses and compressor seals failure. Turning on the air-con to its coldest setting and the highest fan speed will clean out any moisture and prevent a buildup from mildew.
When using the air-con, make sure all windows are wound up. This is not only to get the full effect of crisp air circulating the cabin, but to keep your fuel consumption down too.
If not maintained on regular basis, a car's air-con system can become a breeding ground for bugs, fungus and other harmful bacteria - never good news if you suffer from allergies or other medical conditions. Taking your car to an automotive air-conditioning specialist to have it cleaned of any bug is your best bet.
Around 10 per cent of air-con gas permeates from the system every year, meaning the effectiveness of the system is reduced. Therefore, it is recommended your air-con is re-charged with gas and lubricant at least every two years.
Check for faults:
Regular checks on your air-con will make a big difference in the long run as many components can suffer wear and tear if left unchecked for long periods of time.
Leaks are the most common problem. "A leak can start from anywhere and needs to be seen to sooner rather than later," says Rogers.
The belt on the compressor could produce a squeaking sound, similar to the squeal of a worn fan belt. This is an early warning your belt could be on the way out.
Dirt found in the air vents can also compromise the efficiency the system has in dispensing the air.
Auto Air Conditioning Specialists can also give your system an in-depth health check by conducting pressure tests and evaluating the air conditioning compressor and hoses for wear and tear.
In addition to that test, cleaning and checking the filter and condenser fins and vacuuming the system thoroughly is also part of the service to give you peace of mind.