That’s how we keep a cool head

( – Temperatures well above 30 degrees are increasingly the norm in the summer. It’s good if you have air conditioning or automatic climate control in your car. But when using it, you should pay attention to a few important things.

Dacia Sandero Stepway (2021) on test


Not so long ago, air conditioning was considered an expensive option, found mostly in high-end vehicles. But over the past decade, cooling technology has increasingly found its way into standard equipment, even in compact and small cars. Nearly 90% of all new cars now come with air conditioning or automatic climate control.

An additional consumption to have a cool head?

Anyone who has ever driven without air conditioning in the middle of summer will quickly appreciate the cool breeze. Road safety is also increased, since concentration and reaction capacity decrease in heat. However, air conditioning systems are suspected of increasing the consumption of a car.

According to experts from the technical monitoring company, GTÜ for short, the actual additional consumption when the air conditioning is running cannot be easily quantified or compared. The corresponding GTÜ tests led to results between “not measurable” and up to five liters more consumption per 100 kilometers.

In purely urban driving, however, fuel consumption is higher than on the highway. Also, according to GTÜ, manual air conditioning systems in smaller, weaker-engined cars lead to significantly higher consumption values ​​than semi- or fully automatic systems with electronic controls in high-performance vehicles.

Tips for a good climate on board

In order to ensure optimal efficiency of the air conditioning, the experts at GTÜ offer you various tips: If possible, look for shaded parking spaces to prevent the vehicle from overheating. If the car is nevertheless “warm parked”, small children and animals have no place inside. Staying for just ten minutes can lead to life-threatening circulatory collapse!

In addition, the GTÜ recommends spreading light-colored covers over the steering wheel so that it can be touched later without any problems. Before starting the journey, the accumulated heat must be evacuated from the vehicle by opening all the windows. When you start your trip, you must set the air conditioning and the fan to maximum power and activate the air recirculation mode. After a maximum cooling phase of about three minutes, the air conditioning must then be dosed.

Maximum temperature difference of eight degrees

The difference with the outside temperature should not exceed eight degrees to avoid circulatory problems when going out. Of course, this is easier to control with automatic climate control than with manual climate control. The air conditioning should be turned off early enough before the end of the trip, leaving the fan running to prevent germs from taking up residence in the system.

Although it may seem strange: even in winter, the air conditioning system must be turned on for at least ten minutes once a week to keep the refrigerant circulating and prevent the seals from drying out. Finally, it is recommended to have the air conditioning system checked by a specialized company once a year.

More tips and tests:

Refueling: The price of fuel is cheaper at these times

Vests and Co.: What drivers should take with them abroad

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