The ultimate hack for driving this summer is the recirculation button on the AC unit in most vehicles.
We all know it’s there, but many of us don’t know how best to use it.
Graham Conway, Managing Director at Select Car Leasing, UK’s largest independent specialists for car and van leasing, has revealed exactly how we should be using the recirculation feature to get the most from your vehicle’s AC.
“The recirculation button takes the air from inside your car and circulates it around instead of pulling in fresh air from outside, working with your AC to keep you cool” says Conway, “and the perfect time to use this is in summer weather when the outside air is hot.”
Graham has given four reasons on why using the air recirculation button can do us a huge favour during this period of hot weather.
It keeps you cooler
“By keeping hot air from outside out of the car and circulating the air already in there, your car will be much cooler when driving in the baking heat. The circulation of cooler air will make the drive much easier for both the driver and passengers, especially during a long journey with children or pets in the car.”
Makes your AC unit last longer
“Since the AC doesn’t have to pull in hot air from outside, the AC unit will be working at an optimum level which allows your vehicle to get as cold as possible as quickly as possible. It reduces strain on the system, and keeps the air filters cleaner for much longer which all increases the longevity of your car.”
Stops pollution and pollen from getting in your car
“A massive bonus if you suffer from hay fever, air recirculation blocks bad toxins such as pollution, pollen and even bad smells from entering the vehicle. If you happen to be stuck in traffic next to a smelly field whilst suffering from hayfever, the button is definitely a massive convenience that’s better for your general health.”
Helps reduce fuel consumption and saves battery
“With the price of petrol and diesel higher than they’ve ever been before, everyone is looking for ways to save on fuel. In the hot weather, the air recirculation will assist the AC system which will reduce fuel consumption and also save power for the car’s battery to last longer.”
With all this in mind, pressing this mysterious button has some great benefits that are better for your car’s health and the health of everyone in the car.
One other tip from Graham, “If the car has been baking in the sun, then roll the windows down, turn the AC on and get rid of the hot air in the car before switching recirculate on, otherwise you’ll be stuck with hot air being recirculated.”
Warm weather can cause several issues with electric cars, from overheating to tyre problems but it’s not all doom and gloom.
YESSS Electrical has revealed the top tips for taking care of your EV during a heatwave.
EV’s feature lithium-ion batteries which don’t tend to respond positively to extreme temperatures, working most effectively at 20-25°C.
An overheated battery can cause issues with charging, as the charging speed can decrease or halt altogether for safety. However, if the battery has not overheated, warmer weather actually results in speedier charging times than in lower temperatures.
Most modern EV’s can manage better with high temperatures if they are built with an effective cooling system, such as Tesla, Hyundai and Kia.
Turning the aircon on in your EV reduces its range by 17%. So, if you were planning a 100-mile trip, you’d only be able to travel 83 miles during a heatwave. Although, turning the aircon on in diesel and petrol vehicles can increase fuel consumption by up to 10%, so the EV is still more cost effective in hot weather.
Higher temperatures can affect your EV’s tyre pressure, as EV’s are heavier than petrol and diesel vehicles. However, tyres in a modern EV car will wear down a lot slower than that of a car with an internal consumption engine, due to its good traction. Just make sure to check your tyres every month and before undertaking long journeys.
Maintaining Your EV During a Heatwave
Park your EV in the shade
The lithium-ion battery in your EV can lose charge if left out in the sun for too long. Find a shaded spot to park your vehicle, wherever possible.
Only charge your EV to 80%
If you want to prolong the battery life of your EV, do not fully charge it, but cap it at 80% instead (which means a saving on your electricity bill – hurrah!).
When a car battery is fully charged, it can overheat, resulting in cell degradation, a condition which occurs when lithium battery cells lose the capacity to charge at their original rate.
Plan charging stops on long journeys
If you are undertaking a longer journey, plan your charging stations accordingly.
It’s always best to find a sheltered charging station or an underground station to keep your EV cool whilst charging.
Alternatively, use domestic charging stations and workplace charging points where you can position your charger in a sheltered area.
New EV’s are built with preconditioning. With this setting, you can pre-cool your car before a long journey to avoid draining your battery by having your aircon on full blast whilst driving.
Eco-mode can increase your EV’s efficiency, reducing the amount of power supplied to your electronic systems for functions such as acceleration.
EV’s use more energy in the heat and this setting can help to prolong your car’s range.
Avoid driving between 12pm-3pm
During summer, the hottest part of the day is between 12pm and 3pm. Avoid driving during this time to prevent battery damage.
A spokesperson at YESSS Electrical said, “It’s possible for an electric vehicle’s reliability and safety to be compromised by the hot weather.
“A heat wave can affect your electric vehicle’s battery, reducing its performance. The risk of the battery overheating increases during the hot weather, especially at temperatures exceeding the 40° mark, which we’ve experienced recently.
“Parking in the shade, or simply using eco-mode can help to prevent damage to your electric vehicle’s battery, keeping the system cool.
“Having a home electric vehicle charger installed is the safest and most convenient and cost-effective option to prepare for a heatwave.”