While running car A/C in winter may seem nonsensical, there are a number of reasons why it is a very good idea. In fact, failing to use your A/C at all during the winter months can eventually lead to mechanical breakdowns and costly repairs or replacements.
It Avoids Refrigerant Leaks
Anyone who has worked with automobile A/C units understands the prevalence of refrigerant leaks. When your air conditioning isn’t turned on for weeks or months at a time, the oil and refrigerant won’t be able to flow as well, which can result in damage to the hoses and seals since the inadequate lubrication will make them brittle and dry. This damage in turn will lead to refrigerant leaks and an A/C system that won’t efficiently cool down the vehicle.
It Assists the A/C Compressor
In addition to cooling down air prior to passing it through the vehicle, the compressor can also be used for monitoring heat settings. This means that utilizing the compressor even during winter will dehumidify the air, minimize window fogging and clear up condensation.
It Minimizes A/C Problems in General
Automobile air conditioning systems are intricate machines that have lots of moving parts, making them susceptible to all sorts of mechanical issues. Not using your A/C during winter and spring greatly increases the likelihood of such problems manifesting themselves. One of the most notorious is the accumulation of bacteria and mildew behind the A/C vents that can create an unpleasant odor, compromise the cabin’s air and cause respiratory issues.
Keeps the A/C Unit Functional
We’ve all heard of the expression “use it or lose it,” and this definitely applies to air conditioning systems. When you use it regularly, this will actually minimize the wear on components, but when the system is allowed to sit idle for months because the weather turns cold, not only will it tend to lose refrigerant, but the sensitive internal components might start to corrode.
You’ll Save a Bunch of Money
Vehicle A/C systems are expensive to repair and replace. Not only do you have to cover the cost of the components themselves, but you’ll also need to cover labor costs if you choose to hire a professional (which is highly recommended if you don’t have the expertise to fix the problem yourself). The typical cost for resolving an air conditioning problem can range from three to four figures easily, which can be financially devastating for those who are on a fixed or low income.
And don’t think you can just roll down your windows and ignore the problem. Most modern auto A/C systems are interconnected with other system components and if the A/C breaks down and you choose to ignore it, the damage may spread to other components, harming your vehicle to the point that it may become inoperable. By turning on your vehicle’s A/C for just a few minutes every week during winter, you’ll keep it in great shape so that when you begin using it more frequently in summer it will continue functioning as designed.