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How to get the most out of your car's air-con this summer

As Brits are hit with a scorching-hot summer, we're here with tips on how to maximise your car's air conditioning


Air-conditioning is every motorist’s best friend at this time of year, but having dealt with 'extreme heat' warnings and heatwaves, we've been cranking up the cool air more than ever.

We're on hand to ensure you can get the most out of your air con this summer and keep you cool behind the wheel.

Release the heat

Many people instinctively fire up the air-con as soon as they get into their car.

But it’s actually more effective to open up the doors and allow the hot air to escape the car before allowing the air-con to kick in and do its job.

Air-con vs open windows

There’s an age-old debate about whether it’s more effective to have the windows down or use the air-con.

It’s an even more pressing topic at the moment, considering the rising fuel prices.

In short, if you’re buzzing around town and driving no faster than 30mph, then having the windows down should do the trick.

It will provide you with fresh air and the breeze will flow through the car, keeping you cool.

But if you’re going on longer journeys and using the motorway, not only can having the windows down cause a racket but you'll also use more fuel. 

This is because the wind resistance created by opening the windows means your car is less aerodynamic, and therefore less fuel-efficient.

air con

Start low before cranking it up

Like most things, air-con needs a bit of time to warm up (or in this case, cool down).

So, while it’s waking up, it’s best to start off on low before you stick it on max power.

This is because it's a waste to have it operating on its highest level when it’s not pumping out the cool air you’re craving.

Activate recirculation mode

Recirculation mode essentially means blocking out the hot air outside your vehicle.

So, once your air-con is firing on all cylinders and circulating cold, crisp air, switch on recirculation mode to trap the cool air in your car.

This will also take the strain off the system as it's no longer having to rapidly cool down the warm outside air.

How to angle your air vents

It can be tempting to aim as many vents as possible onto your face. Although this can be a quick fix to cool you down, it isn’t the most effective way of lowering the temperature of your car.

By angling your air vents to cover as much of the car as possible, it will equally distribute the air flow, cooling your car more effectively.

Tips – summer saviours:

  • Sun cream – car windows don’t block out UV rays)

  • Cold drinks – bringing cool bottles with you on your travels will keep you hydrated and help regulate your temperature

  • Park in the shade