Driving in summer

Five mistakes people make when using the air conditioning

Martorell, 11 July 2018

  • Turning on the air conditioning full blast without ventilating the car is one of the most common mistakes
  • The air nozzles should be pointed towards the ceiling instead of the passengers, to let it fall on them like a curtain
  • An interior temperature of 35 °C can affect driver reaction times, so it is advisable to keep the passenger compartment cool and ventilated

2) Keeping the air recirculation option activated: This is another classic mistake that people make, because keeping it on “makes the windows fog up”. Instead, Suárez recommends driving with the Auto option activated so that “the air flow can regulate itself more evenly and efficiently.”

3) Not turning on the air conditioning because the morning is ‘chilly’: Depending on where you are in Europe, some summer mornings can be cool. In spite of this, it’s a good idea to “activate the car’s air conditioning, even if you set the temperature on high” to prevent the windows from fogging up when the outside temperature begins to rise slightly.

4) Pointing the air nozzles incorrectly: “Turn up the air conditioning, I can’t feel anything”, is a request often made by passengers in summer. According to this SEAT expert, most times “it isn’t a matter of temperature, but in which direction the air is flowing inside the car”.  In order to get an even distribution of airflow, “the nozzles should be pointing upwards, not towards people’s faces”. With this simple move “the air flows all around the interior of the car and reaches every passenger consistently”.

5) Failing to perform regular maintenance: Just like with the oil, wheels or brake fluid, the air conditioning system on cars also requires specific maintenance. It is recommended to change the filters every 15,000 or 20,000 kilometres to “prevent decreased flow rate and intensity”, adds Ángel Suárez.

It’s important not to underestimate the effects of heat when driving in summer. According to the SEAT expert, an interior temperature of 35 °C causes the driver to react 20% slower than at 25 °C. The effect is similar to driving with a blood alcohol level of about 0.5 g/l. For this reason it’s important to keep the passenger compartment cool and well-ventilated.

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