In Indian summers, the best of car ACs struggle to cool the interiors of your car. Even if it does manage to cool the interiors, the AC will draw a lot of power trying to do so and in turn rob the car of some fuel efficiency.
CarToq looks at some ways in which you can increase the effectiveness of your car’s AC and enjoy a more comfortable drive, with lower maintenance costs and higher fuel efficiency. The use of sun-film was one of the easiest ways to cut down heat and increase AC efficiency, but with the court banning use of sun-film on vehicles in India, one needs to look for other measures. Also read: Tips to keep your car cool in summer
Use window shades
When you park your car, cover all the windows with screens, especially the windscreen with a reflective screen. These stick on screens can be bought at any car accessory shop and are not expensive. Avoid the cheap net screens, as they don’t cut out heat. Using these shades will ensure that your car’s interior stays cooler longer. Or alternatively, if you can then park the car in the shade. Parking your car in the shade is one way of making sure the car stays cool longer.
Use sun visors
Rain guards or sun visors are acrylic or aluminium strips that fit over the cars windows and provide a kind of small awning over the windows. In rainy weather, this allows you to open the windows just a little to provide some ventilation to the car’s interior. However, you can also use this to good measure in summer. When you park the car, open all the windows by about 1 cm. The opening will anyway stay hidden under the visor, so it won’t be a security threat. But at the same time, it will allow hot air building up inside the car to escape through this gap.
Vent the interiors
When you start driving the car, don’t immediately turn on the AC. Instead, roll down all the windows, turn the AC control to fresh air mode and switch on only the blower. Switch on the AC only after two minutes and then roll up the car’s windows. Switch the AC to recirculation mode – it will cool faster as it recirculates interior air, instead of having to cool fresh air from outside.
If you have the time before starting off, open all the doors of the car and let it vent out for a couple of minutes. A trick with hatchbacks and SUVs is to open all doors and then open and rapidly shut the hatch or boot door – this will drive out all the hot air from inside the car quite quickly!
Use an AC curtain
In vehicles like SUVs or MUVs, if you are not using the boot area, why cool it? You can make the area to be cooled much smaller by installing an AC curtain. This is a plastic, transparent sheet that drops down behind the rear seat, effectively separating the passenger cabin from the boot area, making the AC work more efficiently. This AC curtain can be cut to size and ordered at most hardware stores, or with people who deal in car upholstering. It can be rolled up and clipped in place when you need the extra space.
Besides these tips, every year before the onset of summer get the car’s AC service entirely. Once in three months pressure wash the AC condenser (it is located in front of the car’s radiator), taking care not to damage the fins. Cleaning the condenser will increase cooling dramatically. Get the refrigerant quantity checked annually. Also read: How to improve the mileage of your car
Share any other tips you have on increasing the effectiveness of car ACs with the CarToq community.