Summertime AC Tips – Maximize Use

As the temperatures rise, so too does the desire to get behind the wheel and hit the open road. Indeed, it should be no surprise that that impulse always corresponds with a steep spike in gas prices. As such, if you want to join the throngs on the road, while staying cool and lowering your fuel costs, here are some excellent summertime AC tips designed to help you maximize the use of your automotive AC unit. You don’t need to suffer in a hot car all summer when you can maximize the use of your automotive AC without breaking the bank.

Should You Freshen the Air or Re-circulate?

When the temperatures start to crest in the hot months, it is always tempting to turn your automotive AC on in June and just leave it pegged there until the beginning of autumn. One of the features found on most automotive climate control system is known as the “recirculation” button. Often resembling a “u-turn” sign or a horse shoe with an arrow, the function of this button is too allow and stop fresh air from entering the vehicle’s cabin.

While it may seem a no brainer that you want fresh air into your sweltering car interior, the reality is that you would wish to select the re-circulated option instead. That is because when you allow fresh air in during the hot summer months, your vehicle’s AC system must work harder to cool down the 90 -degree+ heat that will be drawn into your passenger compartment. By comparison, if you re-circulate the air in the passenger compartment, the reused air will only heat up so much making it easier for your automotive AC unit to keep the air cool inside your vehicle.

As such, the most efficient way to cool off your car’s interior this summer is to re-circulate the already cooler air in your passenger cabin rather than fighting an uphill battle of continuously trying to cool off each blast of hot air entering your passenger space.

Replace with Clean Cabin Filters

Just like the vacuum that won’t pick up your dog’s hair off the carpet, if the cabin filter on your vehicle is clogged with outside debris, it can severely hamper the amount of air your automotive AC unit can pump out into your car’s interior. Typically found in any number of places, but generally located under the hood and near the HVAC unit, the cabin filter is designed to block roadside trash, leaves, and dirt from entering your HVAC ducts. Always start your summer road trip with a quick inspection to make sure that your automotive AC unit won’t have to work overtime just to keep you cool and comfortable all summer long.

Hybrid Heat: HVAC and Battery Life

One of the aspects that many first-time hybrid car owners tend to overlook, is the correlation between the car’s AC system, the health of the battery, and regular servicing of the hybrid car. Hybrid cars will not be able to take full advantage of a battery if it is not properly maintained at the correct temperature.

Lithium Batteries

Lithium batteries and its derivates are batteries that work best between -10 degrees celsius and 30 degrees celsius. This is between 14 degrees Fahrenheit and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything below -10 degrees celsius will adversely affect lithium batteries, not allowing it to achieve it’s full rated power until the cells in the battery warm-up. This effect can be detrimental to battery electric vehicles, especially when compared to plug-in hybrids. Plug-in hybrids can use gasoline as a backup as the lithium cells warm up to its full potential. However, batteries that are consistently exposed to hot temperatures lose their ability to store energy altogether. Over time, this can permanently damage the battery, especially if the battery reaches more than 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

This Is Where The AC System Comes In

To help combat extreme temperature fluctuations, the AC system in the hybrid car needs to work properly. Many manufacturers use air-cooling or liquid-cooling systems to power the car’s AC system. There are unique benefits and cons to both.

  • Liquid cooling. Liquid cooling is usually a more superior option for AC systems. The liquid is able to keep its temperature, allowing for a gradual change in the car’s temperature. However, how well it performs will be governed by how robust the battery management system is.
  • Air cooling. Air cooling systems can be particularly beneficial to low-resistance battery cells. However, this can be costly due to it needing to be constantly on.

The Ramifications of “Fast” Or High Charging

High charging and discharge rates can be detrimental to the battery, especially in extreme ambient temperatures. Fast DC charging systems, where up to 80% of a battery is charged extremely quickly with the last 20% being charged via a trickle, can also do a number on the battery’s system.

A Word on AC Charging

Some hybrids use an AC system that uses an electric motor rather a drive belt. The innards of the electric motor are usually immersed in lubricating oil, which is usually nonconductive. Contamination of this oil can easily throw the electric system off by effecting its dielectric properties.

For the battery’s health, as well as the AC system, it is essential that you service your hybrid vehicle’s AC system on a regular basis. Hybrid cars are still a novelty, but owners should maintain their battery to ensure that there aren’t underlying issues.

Under Pressure – Avoiding Summertime Overheating

Is your vehicle overheating? While radiator leaks tend to happen most in the hot summer months, for anyone driving, a breakdown can occur when you least expect it. No one wants to be stranded because of a leak they didn’t have looked at. That’s why it will benefit you to have a specialist take a look. You want your vehicle to run properly and you want to protect your investment. You should have your radiator checked regularly. To avoid radiator problems, consider the following tips and have your radiator checked by Advanced Automotive Diagnostic and Repair.

If You Need A Radiator Replacement

Chances are some drivers may not get regular tune-ups. Tune-ups are vital to have the coolant flushed. If coolant has soured, it becomes corrosive and the acid will eat at the body of the radiator and cause leaks. Seeing symptoms of this? Book a radiator check here…

Signs Your Radiator is Leaking

When the engine is working properly, the radiator dispels heat away from the engine to help stop the engine from overheating. Problems can occur if you have a leaky radiator, if the radiator cap isn’t on tightly, if you have a leak in a radiator hose, or if your thermostat is broken and needs to be replaced.

Leaking Fluid on the Ground

There are a few obvious signs that a radiator is leaking. Radiators are made to distribute heat exchange in an even flow to cool the engine with radiator fluid. If you see fluid on the ground, you may have a leak. The fluid may be fluorescent green. It’s also possible that the leak came from another vehicle- like if you check while you’re in a public parking lot. Just drive a little longer, stop and turn the vehicle off. Radiator fluid is toxic, so don’t stick your hand under the vehicle. Just wait to see if fluid drips onto the ground.

Rising Temperature Gauge

Another way to tell that you have a radiator problem is if you turn the engine on and the vehicle starts to overheat right away. If you add coolant and it’s still running hot, there may be a leak. You may even see fluid dripping or running out. This is an overheating problem that needs to be addressed immediately. For immediate service, contact Advanced Automotive Diagnostics and Repair today for an appointment at (317) 215-4049.

Hoses and Radiator Clamps

Another sign to look for is rust. Vehicles will have their fair share of wear and tear, but rust can be very destructive. You can check your hoses and clamps for any visual signs of rust or discolorations and let your mechanic know.

Getting Routine Radiator Summer Maintenance

When you need a radiator refill, you can stop in and have your cooling system checked at your convenience. Ideally, right before the weather gets hot, you should you’re your radiator checked so you won’t have any immediate problems. You can look at this as your routine summer maintenance to have performed every year. A technician can also confirm that your water pump is running correctly and look for any other areas to avoid preventable auto repair expenses.

Advanced Automotive Diagnostics and Repair

To set up your appointment for radiator summer maintenance or help with a radiator leak, call or stop in at Advanced Automotive Diagnostics and Repair. Located at 499 Park 800 Drive in Greenwood, IN, we are conveniently right off US-31 and can help with your engine cooling system. Our automobile technicians are licensed, highly trained, knowledgeable and friendly. They can help with any radiator questions you have. Call to set up an appointment now at (317) 215-4049 or book an appointment here.

Don’t let your radiator leak get worse. Schedule your appointment today!