LAGOS, Nigeria – Nigerians are feeling the scorching southern hemisphere-sun. Many of us take the air conditioners in our cars for granted, but even more of us don’t use our air conditioners properly. This results in an unnecessary increase in petrol or diesel usage which in turn has a negative effect both on our pockets and on the environment.
Here are some interesting facts from the folks at Ford about your air conditioning system:
- Air conditioning systems are powerful. Most drivers expect their vehicle’s interior to reach a reasonably comfortable temperature within 15 minutes. On a sunny 35-degree day, that interior may be upward of 60 degrees. In order to cool a vehicle down to a comfortable level, most vehicle air conditioning systems have a cooling capacity equal to a small home’s air conditioning.
- Today’s air conditioning systems are efficient. Most vehicles use a limited reheat strategy to create the most comfortable environment. Older systems cooled all of the processed air to just above freezing, then reheated the air to the desired temperature. The newer system cools the air down to just below the desired temperature, then reheats it slightly. This reduces the amount of energy required to operate the system and results in better fuel efficiency.
- The air conditioner in a new Ford vehicle for example is smart. When operating in auto mode, the system uses sensors to determine the optimal operational requirements of the system to best maintain the comfort level in your vehicle. An example of this is the presence of a sensor that can tell where the sun is shining strongest on your car, and adjusts output temperature accordingly. If the sun is shining on the front passenger-side window, cool air output is stronger in that area than on the driver’s side to offset the added heat, and keep a consistent level of comfort.
“We know Ford owners want to stay cool on their summer travels – not only when they first get in their vehicle, but throughout their trip,” says Larry Karas, Ford climate control supervisor. “Here are a few simple tips and tricks for drivers to keep in mind to ensure their vehicle’s air conditioning is running efficiently and keeping all passengers comfortable, regardless of the car they drive.”
- When you first enter a hot vehicle, lower the windows completely for a few minutes to push out hot air – if it is safe to do so.
- Use the max A/C button to quickly cool down the vehicle.
- If you get too cold, don’t switch the unit off. Rather adjust the temperature or fan speed to help keep the temperature consistent.
- Too cold in the front, but still not cool enough in the back seat? Instead of shutting the A/C vents in the front, redirect them to the ceiling or sides of the vehicle to keep air flowing to the rear.
- If it isn’t too hot, when driving around town turn off the A/C and roll down your windows instead.
- Parking in the shade whenever possible or using a reflective windshield shade can dramatically reduce heat buildup in your parked vehicle. Cabin temperature at startup will be much lower, and temperature comfort will be achieved much sooner on your drive.
- If your vehicle is equipped with a moon-roof or large panoramic roof, always close the roof shade to reduce heat buildup in your parked vehicle.
- If your vehicle is equipped with a remote start system, be sure to set the climate control system up for automatic operation. This way you start the cool-down process before entering the vehicle.
- Air conditioning systems in cars are smart and if used properly, will be more efficient and effective during the hot summer days.
- If you get too cold, don’t switch the unit on and off; adjust the temperature or fan speed to help keep the temperature consistent.
- Choosing a lighter exterior color and/or a lighter interior colour will reduce heat buildup in your parked vehicle – something to consider when purchasing your next car.
Tosan Aduayi has reported on Motoring since 1994 with trademark columns; Roadrunner and Carliners. He is the Founder and Publisher of Trendy Africa Magazine.