This is a habit adopted by many drivers: leaving the air conditioning on when the car is stationary. This is a bad move to ban for the proper functioning of your vehicle.

Air conditioning is necessary in hot weather

When the mercury rises and the temperatures become unbearable, it becomes particularly painful in the car. During a long journey or during traffic jams, air conditioning is an option that allows us to cool down and improve our comfort. And for good reason, rolling with the windows open is not pleasant for the driver or passengers. Only, a question hangs over the air conditioning. Should I let it run continuously?

Air conditioning in the car

Air conditioning in the car – Source: spm

Air conditioning has an impact on the consumption of the car

One thing is certain: the air conditioning has an effect on the fuel consumption of the automobile. It is for this reason that it is advisable to reduce its use for ecological but also economic reasons. When the air conditioning is on, the operation of the compressor which sends cold air is linked to excessive fuel consumption. According to the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), a car with the air conditioning on in town consumes up to 35% more fuel. As for an open road, the increase in consumption can be up to 20%. Thus, to minimize this impact, it is rather recommended to use the air conditioning in a moderate way. The use of the fan is also an alternative which can avoid the use of air conditioning.

Turn on car air conditioning

Turn on car air conditioning – Source: spm

Should the air conditioning be left on when switched off?

One thing is certain: air conditioning has a considerable impact on the vehicle fuel consumption. There is also another habit that drivers adopt for their comfort: leaving the air conditioning on while the car is stationary. However, this is a bad move since it is recommended to turn off the air conditioning before turning off the engine to extend the life of the compressor, equipment that compresses the air needed to burn fuel. You should adopt this habit 5 to 10 minutes before your arrival at your destination. Your vehicle will not have time to warm up, even when the temperatures are high. If you wish, you can turn on the fan to cool off during a break. As you will have understood, it is preferable to deactivate the air conditioning when the car is stationary, at the risk of leading to overconsumption of fuel.

Air conditioning 1

Air conditioning – Source: spm

What temperature should you set the air conditioning in your car to?

To maintain optimal thermal comfort, it is recommended to adopt an air conditioning temperature that does not exceed 5 degrees difference with the outside temperature. A temperature of 25°C, for example, is recommended if it is 30°C outside. And for good reason, the greater the difference between these two temperatures, the more you expose yourself to thermal shock. This can lead to drying of the mucous membranes. In addition, when the air conditioning temperature is low, you consume more fuel. To cope with the heat, it is instead recommended to point the fan towards your forearms or any areas exposed to heat. It is therefore advisable not to switch on the air conditioning from the start but rather to ventilate the vehicle before turning on the air conditioning.

How to fight the heat without air conditioning?

If you do not have an air conditioning system or if it is broken, you can still cool your car by taking certain actions. The purchase of sun visors with suction cups or UV filters installed by a professional can cool the cabin. A portable fan and a rechargeable mist maker can help you cool down while driving. It is also recommended to travel during the coolest hours of the day for better thermal comfort.