This is one of the busiest times for air conditioning repairers, as motorists find themselves sweltering in their cars, during the first warm spell of the year. Unfortunately, repairing air conditioning faults are rarely straightforward.
The main cause of the system failing is a lack of use. Many people believe that air conditioning is suitable for cooling the car’s interior during hot weather only, which results in many units being switched off during the entire winter.
Unfortunately, should the air conditioning be inoperative for more than several months, the system’s seals can deteriorate and this causes the refrigerant, which is stored under high pressure, to escape into the atmosphere and, while air conditioning gases have not contained CFCs since the early 1990s, even modern blends are hazardous for our ozone layer.
Many drivers tend to leave their air conditioning switched off on purpose, because it saps power from the engine and increases fuel consumption. However, the costs of repairing a neglected system can outweigh the fuel saving by a significant amount.
Additionally, air conditioning plays an important safety function. Apart from being capable of maintaining a lower cabin temperature than that of outside, not only does the system draw moisture out from the air but it can also be used in conjunction with the heater, which makes air conditioning very useful to aid rapid demisting of the windows.
A downside of the dehumidifying function is that moisture builds up behind the dashboard, which affords an ideal environment for bacteria to propagate. Should you notice that you air conditioning system emits an unpleasant odour for a minute or so after switching it on, it would be worthwhile disinfecting it.
Several products exist on the market, which claim to sterilise the ventilation system. A version that I have tested recently was Liqui Moly Klima Fresh, which worked very effectively in cleansing the ventilation system of my own car, judging by the pleasant odour that still lingered for several weeks afterwards.