How often should you clean the air conditioning in your car?

Jadon Lawson
It takes approx. 3 minutes to read this article

Car air conditioning is a rather complex and delicate system, the maintenance of which in perfect working order is very important. Its cleaning can be partially done by yourself, but it is best to turn to an experienced car service. How often should you do it and why?

When is cleaning necessary?

The most common reason for air conditioning cleaning is a foul smell from the vents when the vent is on. This is indirectly blamed on bacteria that have settled around the evaporator and have begun to actively multiply in a favorable environment. A few months after the bacteria begin to multiply, they begin to die and produce unpleasant odors in the interior of the car. The urgency of cleaning the air conditioning can be indicated by these signals:

  • after switching on the air conditioning, a musty smell appears in the car, the intensity of which increases over time;
  • Even without switching on the air conditioning, an unpleasant odour is noticeable from the air ducts, which indicates the presence of microorganisms;
  • the cooling efficiency has decreased, which indicates the clogging of radiators – a layer of mold can grow on the plates of this unit;
  • a light coating is visible through the deflectors inside the air supply pipes, which indicates the growth of pathogenic microflora;
  • when replacing the filter you notice that it is damp, there is mold on it, the filter elements are dark.

It should be remembered that prolonged driving in such conditions is dangerous for health.

When to clean air conditioning – other situations

In addition, the air conditioner should be cleaned in the following situations:

  • you bought a used car with any type of air conditioning. In this case, it is necessary to clean the system in order to use the machine comfortably;
  • you have not had comprehensive air conditioning maintenance for more than 3 years. During this time, it has undoubtedly accumulated a lot of dirt and mold;
  • the driver or passengers have allergy symptoms. An allergic reaction can be caused by mold and fungus that has taken up residence in the car’s air conditioning system;
  • the air conditioner needs repair. If this is the case, it is better to get a quality cleaning done right away so that you do not return to this problem in the years to come;
  • The car has not been used for a long time, the air conditioner has not been turned on for more than a year. In this case, bacteria may have taken over most of the space in the air delivery system – better not to risk your health and clean the system.

How often should I clean my car air conditioner?

You can find information about how often to clean your car’s air conditioning system in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. If for some reason you don’t have this information, follow the general recommendations of professionals and perform a preventive cleaning once or twice a year. However, if you or your loved ones are prone to allergies, antibacterial air conditioning cleaning should be done more often.

In some cases, you need to consider how often you use your car and turn on the air conditioner in it, as well as the climate in your region and the characteristics of the roads you drive on. The most common time to clean your air conditioner is in the spring, before active use begins, or in the fall, after active use ends. However, you can do it at any time, as long as the temperature is right.

main photo: Berntsen

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