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Air-con: recommended min usage to keep in good order.

Discussion in 'Car Repairs / Maintenance' started by mointainwalker, 18 Mar 2013.

  1. mointainwalker

    mointainwalker

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    Hi

    I don't need to use my air-con except for two summer months , but want to keep seals etc in good order. I remember reading somewhere that at least one hour per month running was recommended. Is this still the case and could/should you split that into 10/15 minute periods ?

    Car is 2006 Vectra.

    Thanks all.
     
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  3. Burnerman

    Burnerman

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    Use it as frequently as possible, really - on my car I don't turn it off.
    Any fuel savings are quickly absorbed by a re gas or other repair.
    John :)
     
  4. mrcabrach

    mrcabrach

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    It will come on automaticaly when you place the air directional control to the windscreen position

    10 - 15 min a week should be enough to lube the compressor seals

    but you can & probably will still get faults as alloy parts exposed to outside wet & dirt corrode especially the condenser
     
  5. alan333

    alan333

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    It's surprising how many people don't know that A/C can be used on hot as well as cold. It's great for demisting windows on damp nights as it dries the air.
     
  6. mointainwalker

    mointainwalker

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    @alan333

    You may be leaping to conclusions. I am talking about air-con and NOT climate-control.

    Yes a/c will dry the air, but not particularly quickly and the compressor is supplying cold-air.

    @ John - Burnerman

    You feel that even at 7% extra fuel- consumption ( old figure, may be less now ) it's worth using all the time, even when the comfort aspect is not wanted ?
     
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  7. Peter.N.

    Peter.N.

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    Both my cars put the aircon on when you press the demist button, I thought this was normal for most cars.

    I never use mine, doesn't get hot enough in this country.

    Peter
     
  8. Mursal

    Mursal

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    Duplicate post
     
  9. Burnerman

    Burnerman

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    I would say that a 7% fuel saving would be very worthwhile indeed.....are these your figures or the manufacturers data?
    The reason for my statement was, in older a/c systems if the engine was ticking over and you switched the air con on, there was an audible 'clunk' as the compressor cut in, and a slight descrease in tickover speed (maybe up to 100 rpm) therefore there was certainly a significant load.
    On both of my a/c vehicles, there's no clunk at all, and no decrease in tickover speed (both a/c units work perfectly).
    I'll start checking the fuel consumption on both cars (via the on board computers) and post back in a while.
    Your answer, therefore is to run the air con for a few minutes each week, I guess.
    John :)
     
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  11. Stivino

    Stivino

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    Working on the principle that you don't get something for nothing, there's always a price to pay and in this case it's fuel albeit, it's debatable how much it uses.
    So, I only use my A/C when I need it. I was always told that it need to be used for about five minutes a week to keep all the seals lubricated.
    I know this sounds a bit mean but I am Scottish after all. I regularly have to descend a long hill, about two miles long. That's when I switch it on, as I don't need to use the accelerator for five minutes, I get it for free.
    I googled "car air con" and got these tips.
    http://tinyurl.com/dyueh3p
    http://tinyurl.com/btlr2tg
    http://tinyurl.com/c7yekpo
     
  12. chainsaw_masochist

    chainsaw_masochist

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    Good links, Stivino, but I do have a couple of questions.

    1) re the second link the following point is made:Do not use your air conditioning if it’s not as cold as usual as this can cause damage to the compressor which can be very expensive to replace.

    Anyone able to elaborate as to why this might be the case?

    2) The third link states:Unfortunately this moisture collects on the evaporator which becomes prone to bacterial and fungal colonisation. This can cause a foul smell and allergic reactions unless treated.

    This problem might be dealt with by following Q&A advice published in the Honest John column in the Telegraph recently:

    Smelly air con
    Recently the air con seems to have a stale water smell. I noted that you addressed this type of problem - what do I do?

    Turn the heater at maximum to dry out any condensation in the trunking and any bacteria growning on it.
     
  13. Burnerman

    Burnerman

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    Personally I've never had any compressor problems (apart from a rattly clutch on one or two). Its often thought that running a compressor thats low on refridgerant could be an issue, but in reality there's usually a pressure sensor that prevents the system operating anyway in this way.
    As for evaporator pongs, thats due to bacteria collecting on the outside of the vanes....you can buy an aerosol thats set off in your car (heating on recirculation, engine and fan running) thats supposed to help.
    Replacing the cabin filter yearly is recommended, and when I take the old element out, its fans on full to get a faceful of leaves before popping the new one in :p
    John :)
     
  14. Stivino

    Stivino

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    I don't really understand the point the writer is trying to make, to be honest.
    I've never had any compressor issues either. it's always been the condenser rotting or a leaking joint on a flexible hose.
    I was once supplied a new receiver drier that was machined in a way that it was impossible for the alumininium pipe to go fully home.
     
  15. Burnerman

    Burnerman

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    On my own vehicles I've only had problems with the alloy pipe rubbing through on the bodywork......on some of the wrecks that come my way there's no gas in - but who knows what the history of those are! A/C failure is the least of the problems on cars like those.
    John :)
     
  16. Peter.N.

    Peter.N.

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    I think the compressors have failed on nearly all my cars, or at least they have lost gas, probably because I very rarely use the aircon, once failed I don't bother with it.

    My first ever car with aircon was a CX 25 DTR Safari, I only used that going down hills - and I'm not Scottish :D

    Peter
     
  17. mointainwalker

    mointainwalker

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    Since that site with the compressor advice is Australian, I guess it's something specific to their needs -or maybe just mistaken.

    John, tjhat figure of 7% is one I've seen several times in articles about fuel-saving. It might therefore also be a mistake, but since there is a noticeable decrease of 100-150 rpm at tick-over on my car, I think it is probably a decent estimate.

    As Stivino says, the power to drive the compressor has to come from somewhere and energy is never free. Please tell us if your observations yield any conclusive results.
     
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