Amp Up Your Car's AC
It looks like we're through the worst of our heatwave here in Southern California. But anyone who's lived in the area for a while knows that September can bring a spike in temps. We're not out of the woods just yet. The problem is that because Southern California is usually so temperate for so much of the year, many homes and apartments don't have AC. If you're sick of sweating through the summer, you might have taken some drives to sit in the blessedly cool stream of your car's air conditioning. And with all the beautiful coastal roads in our area, why not? Sure, it might shrink your fuel economy, but you need the reprieve.
If you're planning to use your car's AC to keep yourself cool through the rest of the summer – and the summer-like weeks in September and October – here are some tips. Use them to get the most out of your vehicle's vents while minimizing the impact on your car's fuel efficiency.
Have you noticed that your AC seems to work better when your car's in motion? That's not just the effect movement has on your perception of airflow. When your vehicle is moving forward, it has an easier time pulling air into its cooling system. It might be tempting to run your car and its AC before you have to get in on a hot day, but it's the least efficient way to cool down the cabin.
Turn on recirculation.
You've finally brought the cabin temperature down to a comfortable level. Use it! When you're running your AC, don't make your system work harder than necessary. Instead of having it pull in hot air from outside, then cool it, press that recirculate button. That way, your AC can leverage the cooler air that's already inside your vehicle.
Swap your filter.
If you've ever worn a handkerchief over your mouth on a dusty day, you know that it gets harder to breathe through it the more clogged it becomes. Your car's got a similar situation. As your air filter gets plugged up with dirt and debris, it has to work overtime to perform at the level you expect. If it's been a while since you've swapped out your air filter, this is the time. A clean air filter helps your AC work at optimal efficiency.
These tips should help you lighten the load of using your car's AC through the hot months.