Does Your Air-Con Feel Like A Con?

Fri 26th Jun 2020

The rising summer temperatures have had many of us reaching for the air-conditioning dial in our cars, but do we really know how to keep cool in cars?

With research from Seat suggesting that overheated motorists might see their driving behaviour impaired, it’s important that we can better monitor the interior temperature of the car, without having to resort to opening the windows.

While some cars left in direct sunlight for a long period of time can reach temperatures of 60°C inside, Seat’s research found that an in-car temperature of 35°C can reduce reaction times by 20 per cent, compared to the same car at 25°C.

Seat’s suggestions for getting the best from the air con include not actually turning the system on until you have let all the trapped warm air escape by opening the windows and car doors. That allows the car to drop a few degrees gradually.

Turning the air-con filters towards yourself is also a big mistake, while you may enjoy the icy blast, this actually stops the cool air circulating around the car. Seat also suggest you use the air-con during colder weather conditions to ensure it is in working condition and also to get the air-con serviced every 10-15,000 miles.

Angel Suarez, an engineer at the SEAT Technical Centre, said: “Open the doors and lower the windows for a minute before turning on the air conditioning to naturally lower the temperature in the interior.”

"If rear passengers say they can’t feel the cool air, then the nozzles could be set incorrectly.

“It isn’t a matter of temperature, but in which direction the air is flowing inside the car. The nozzles should be pointing upwards, not towards peoples’ faces.

"Then the air flows all around the interior of the car and reaches every passenger consistently.”