Most of us get the AC in our houses serviced before summer starts. But the ones in our cars are often subjected to neglect. The air conditioning unit in our cars works on the same principle of the one in our home and requires the same kind of care as well. So this time, just take out 30 minutes from your daily schedule and take your beloved car to a service centre and get the AC checked.
The key elements that require a closer look are the compressor and the refrigerant, commonly known as AC gas. If the cooling of your AC has reduced, it could be down to the drop in the refrigerant level. And if the AC is not switching on, there might be something wrong with the compressor. Also, if the air from the vents start to emit a stale smell, the filter will have to be cleaned/replaced.
Do this and you will have the best cooling possible.
2. Tyres pressures and treads
A lot of people have a habit of running higher tyre pressures for better efficiency. Tyre temperatures in summers can rise pretty quickly, especially if you are on the highway. And if you are not careful, this is what causes the air in the tyre to expand, which could cause the tyre to burst. We don’t mean to scare you but just warn you. Please use manufacturer-recommended tyre pressures closely. What’s even better is if you could fill your tyres with nitrogen. Nitrogen retains temperature better and hence is especially suited for summer use. You can then top up everytime with normal air, which is not a big issue.
The other thing to keep in mind is tyre treads. No matter what season, your tyre treads play an important role in providing optimum grip on the road. But this becomes all the more important in the summers as bald tyres reach higher temperatures faster, making them more prone to punctures and even tyre bursts. So if your tyres are getting bald, change them.
3. Engine fluids
Fluids play a vital role in the summers. Whether it’s us or our cars, both need to remain hydrated. The two most important fluids in the car then to be checked are the coolant and the engine oil.
The coolant is responsible for keeping your engine running at optimum temperature and preventing it from overheating. Checking the coolant level is pretty simple too: just pop the bonnet and there will be markings on the coolant tank. Also, avoid filling or topping up the coolant tank with water and use manufacturer-recommended brands.
Engine oil is responsible for keeping the friction between different parts of the engine as low as possible. If the car is running low on engine oil, parts like the pistons and the combustion chamber are the first to get damaged, resulting in low efficiency and a possible engine seizure. Please get the engine oil quality and level checked before the summer to ensure a smooth ride.
Another quick tip: keep the windscreen washer fluid topped up. If the car has been parked under direct sunlight for a long time and has heated up like an oven, spray the washer fluid on to cool the windscreen before you switch on the AC. This will give you quicker cooling.
4. Recommended Accessories
Some extra care goes a long way in helping your car cope with the heat. Here are some of the accessories we recommend.
While we do not recommend using sunblinds on windows while you are driving, the same if used while parking can help keep the heat out of cars. Especially if you have leather seat covers, these sun blinds can prevent them from heating up and causing discomfort in rather sensitive areas.
B. Car Cover
While they are not necessary for other seasons, car covers can be lifesavers for your car’s paint in the summers. If your house or office parking does not have a shade, we highly recommend a cover to protect the paint on the surface from getting damaged. Take that extra effort and the shine on the car will last for a lot longer.
C. Heat Reflectors
Placed inside the windscreen, heat reflectors help keep the car cool when parked under the sun. The new foldable ones are easy to place and store in the car and keep the steering, seats and the overall inside temperature of the car cool.
5. Hidden Features
Most cars these days come with cooled gloveboxes. If your car has one, use it. You don’t have to use an accessory fridge as a cooled glovebox is quite effective in keeping water bottles cool. Also, buy and keep 3-4 sealed bottles of water in the car, with one in the cooled storage as you never know when it can come in handy.
Some of the cars have strategically placed cup holders in front of AC vents. If you are using one of these, be sure to remove the bottle and keep it in the glovebox when parking the car under direct sunlight, or the effort will just go to waste.
6. Do not, we repeat, DO NOT leave pets or kids in cars
Even if you are stepping out for just a few minutes. The temperature inside cars can rise rather quickly and it can be fatal for passengers trapped inside. Leaving a bit of the window open is not a solution either. Take that extra effort, take them with you no matter how quick it is.
7. Last but not the least, avoid parking cars under direct sunlight. Even if you have to walk a little extra, do it. This will help you avoid all the hassles mentioned above. Also, rotate the steering 180 degrees while parked. This way the top of the steering is kept away from direct heat. You won’t get a chatka.
Take care this summer, folks. Be cool, keep the car cooler.