Interesting things to know about the air conditioner in the car

© Daniel Krason –

In summer, optimal cooling in the car with the car air conditioner is indispensable. How to operate them properly to avoid unnecessary costs read here…
Save fuel and maintenance costs despite constantly running air conditioner? Air conditioning in the car promotes colds and muscle tension as well as allergic reactions. This is avoidable if you follow a few sensible rules. At the start of the automotive spring, GTu Gesellschaft fur Technische uberwachung gives the most important tips on the correct use of the car air conditioning system.


  • The right temperature
  • Optimum humidity
  • The right setting
  • Close windows
  • Deep-freezing costs fuel
  • Use circulating air intelligently
  • Switch on the air conditioner regularly
  • Regular maintenance
  • Precautions for allergy sufferers

The right temperature

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Air-conditioning systems create a pleasant interior climate by two main factors: lowering the temperature and dehumidifying the air. On sunny days, the cool air dispensers have been proven to contribute to active safety. Corresponding investigations show: Already from interior temperatures of more than 24 degrees Celsius, the physical performance of the driver drops rapidly.

Lack of attention, poorer reaction and increased aggressiveness are the result. On the other hand, the air conditioning should not be set too cold. Because in the case of large differences between indoor and outdoor temperature, we also expose ourselves to unnecessary physical stress.

The GTu tip: Do not cool too much. The difference between this and the outside temperature should not be more than eight degrees. Two to three degrees less than outside is optimal. Most drivers find a temperature range between 20 and 24 degrees ideal.

Optimal humidity

In addition, air conditioning removes moisture from the outside air drawn in by cooling, thus ensuring physical well-being. A simply explainable physical effect. Cool air can absorb less water than warm air.

The GTu tip: Air conditioning prevents the windows from fogging up. Switch on the system even in humid weather conditions. An additional plus for cold days.

The right setting

In addition to the optimal temperature selection, one should also pay attention to the correct ventilation. It is wrong to turn the blower to zero, because then the air conditioner will also switch off. High fan speeds, on the other hand, cause unnecessary drafts and noise. Higher-quality air conditioners are automatically controlled. With little effort, the desired temperature and optimum cooling can be distributed to the numerous air outlets in the vehicle. But even with the simpler, less efficient mechanically controlled air conditioning systems, a reasonable setting can usually be found.

The GTu tip: If possible, do not point the air vents in the dashboard directly at the body. How to avoid dry eyes and unpleasant cold on the skin. Wear light, long-sleeved clothing whenever possible on summer car trips. For train sensitive contemporaries this is virtually a must.


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Close the windows

Air conditioning works most efficiently with windows fully closed. Even small gaps are a disadvantage. Keep the cool inside and the heat outside. Exception: Open the windows briefly before starting the car if it has been standing in the blazing sun for a long time. Because temperatures of 60 degrees and more can easily arise in the interior, which can be reduced more quickly by brief ventilation.

GTu Tip: Park in the shade if possible in the sun, pull down existing blinds. Air conditioners of some expensive models have as an extra a stand ventilation partly even with solar drive. Use this technique when available.

Deep freezing costs gas

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Not only for health reasons, but also for economic reasons, the air conditioning system should not be set too cold. In extreme cases, the maximum power operation of an air conditioning system in city traffic can cause additional consumption of more than three liters per 100 kilometers. On the other hand, sensible use of air conditioning costs only moderate amounts of fuel, in some cases significantly less than half a liter per 100 kilometers when driving cross-country. An acceptable price for the huge gain in comfort.

GTu Tip: Also for consumption reasons, do not regulate high heat in the car down to full power if possible. At most, an initial three-minute kick is acceptable. With automatic air conditioners, set the desired temperature a bit higher at the beginning and reduce it gradually. This lowers the noise level of the fan.

Intelligent use of recirculated air

Air conditioners have a so-called recirculation circuit, which stops the supply of fresh air to the vehicle when necessary and circulates the available air instead. This saves energy because in recirculation mode, the already precooled air of the interior circulates instead of the warm outside air. If the air conditioning system does not have a so-called air quality sensor that automatically activates the air recirculation in certain situations, you should at least press the switch when driving through tunnels or in traffic jams in order to reduce the pollutant load in the interior. Nevertheless, it is not recommended to drive constantly in the circulating air mode, because so permanently no more fresh air gets into the car interior and the air becomes too dry.

The GTu Tip: At least when the air conditioning system is in recirculation mode, you should not smoke in the vehicle, as the smoke drawn in settles on the evaporator of the cooling system and can thus lead to permanent odor nuisance.

Switch on the air conditioner regularly

Poor visibility while driving

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The air conditioning system deserves a minimum of attention. Keep the air intake in front of the windshield clear of leaves so the air conditioner can “breathe” freely and work efficiently. Do not cover the air vents in the interior for the same reason. Turn on the air conditioner even on cool days at least some of the time, so that the cooling circuit is always on. This lubricates the seals so that they do not become brittle and thus prevents the threat of coolant loss. This prevents premature repairs.

The GTu tip: Treat your air conditioner – even in winter! – Weekly operation for at least ten minutes to keep the refrigerant in the circuit.

Regular maintenance

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Air conditioners need maintenance. Is the system still tight? If the refrigerant level is correct? If the cooling capacity drops noticeably, this indicates a loss of coolant. Refilling is absolutely necessary to avoid expensive consequential damage, for example, to the compressor of the system.

The GTu tip: It is best to have the air conditioning system checked by the specialist garage as part of the inspections that are recommended anyway. You should also take this opportunity to eliminate leaks by replacing old hoses and seals, for example, and to clean the system and top up any missing coolant.

Precautions for allergy sufferers

Air conditioners should normally not be pollen slingers or even breeding grounds for fungi and bacteria. As a rule, this can be ensured by changing the filter as recommended by the manufacturer and cleaning it as part of the inspection. Nevertheless, in individual cases, corresponding germs can settle in the filter or dirty evaporators can store unpleasant odors, which then enter the vehicle interior through the ventilation system. A problem especially for allergy sufferers. In extreme cases, the only remedy is the chemical cleaning methods recommended by the manufacturer and carried out by a specialist workshop.

The GTu Tip: Switch off the air conditioning in good time before the end of the journey, but still leave the fan running. How to reduce condensation in the plant and thus the risk of germ colonization.

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