Car air-con mistakes revealed… how you’ve been using the cooling system is all wrong

With no end to soaring temperatures in sight, it seems many drivers are using their air-conditioning the wrong way and leaving themselves in a sweaty mess and even risking a smash…

Are you missing out on cooling by using your air-con all wrong?

Spain’s leading car maker Seat has revealed the mistakes that drivers are making when it comes to operating their air-con.

Getting the air-con settings right is more important than simply keeping armpits fresh – a hot car can see drivers’ reaction times plunge.

Seat says that a sauna-like car interior of 35-degrees could see reaction times drop by 20 per cent compared with a cabin at 25-degrees.

However, the research by Seat shows that Brits are making a catalogue of common mistakes that are hitting the efficiency of how their air-con works – putting themselves, passengers and other road users at risk.

The top five air-con mistakes – and how to put them right.

Pushing the wrong button can leave your air-con causing issues.

Turning the AC on full blast straight away:It might seem like a smart idea to turn the jets to max as soon as you get in the motor, but keeping the windows shut will mean you’re simply recirculating baking hot air.

WHAT TO DO: Lower the windows and open the doors for a few minutes, then shut them all and turn on the air-con   

Using the air recirculation mode: Leaving this button on can result in misted windows and cut visibility – which will be made even more dangerous by glare from the sun. Leaving the recirculate button on will also mean you’re trying to cool hot air – making the air-con less efficient.

WHAT TO DO: Check your cooling system for an ‘auto’ option that will automatically regulate what setting is used to prevent fogging while keeping the cabin cool.   

Pointing the vent towards you: Many drivers will point the air jet directly at them, which while making them cool, it will prevent even circulation around the car.

WHAT TO DO: Pointing jets towards the roof might seem counter-intuitive, but this will allow the cool air to spread around the car in a more effective manner. This will help those all-important reaction times and allow the cooling air to reach passengers.

Leaving air-con switched off in the morning: It might not seem that hot in the morning as you jump in your car and head off to work, or on the school run, but the sun can rapidly heat up, leaving you in a slow-cooker and at risk of fogged windows.

WHAT TO DO: Keeping the air-con going in the AM will prevent any ‘stealth’ increased in cabin temperature that could easily creep up. The air-con will also help to prevent the windows slowly fogging as temps rise.

Neglecting maintenance: Your car’s air-con system needs a lot of TLC and neglecting to keep it maintained could end in a sweaty fail as you hit the road.

WHAT TO DO: Keeping the filters clear means they’ll need to be changed every 10,000-15,000 miles. Read more about air-con maintenance here.

What’s wrong with my air-con?

Is your air-con not cold, a bit whiffy, or simply not switching on? Read out air-con troubleshooting guide here.


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