As the weather reaches the triple digits here in the Rio Grande Valley more and more people will be reaching for their A/C dials for some relief.
But does using your vehicle’s A/C impact your vehicle’s performance or make the engine work harder? Read on as we talk about using your vehicle’s A/C in the summer.
A/C Usage and Fuel Economy
According to Consumer Reports, the harder the A/C system has to work, the worse the impact on fuel economy. But, this depends on a lot of different factors including the outside temperature. Under extremely hot conditions, A/C use can reduce a conventional vehicle’s fuel economy by more than 25%.
That being said, a study conducted by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) found that driving with the windows down also decreases efficiency by 20% in a sedan and 8% in an SUV. This happens due to the drag that happens because of the wind. SAE concluded that if the vehicle is more aerodynamic, the higher the drag will be with the windows open.
What Can You Do?
So, if fuel economy is affected with and without the A/C, what can you do?
Adjust Your Driving Habits
Avoid hard braking and significant accelerating. Business Insider reports that fuel economy decreases significantly when a vehicle is traveling faster than 50 mph.
According to General Motors, idling is also not recommended as it can burn through an average of a quarter of a gallon.
Maintain Your Vehicle
Maintaining your vehicle not only save you money on repairs, but it can save you money at the gas pump too.
Be sure to check your tire pressure and make sure it’s at the right level. This is good not only for your overall safety, but good tire pressure can increase a car’s fuel economy by up to 3%.
Changing air filters and upgrading the motor oil will also have positive impacts on the overall performance and fuel economy of your vehicle as well.
Lighten the Load
Exterior car accessories such as flags, placing cargo on the roof, and even having items in the cabin or truck can affect fuel economy.
This happens due to the drag of the wind pulling on the exterior items making the vehicle work harder against it. Or, if the vehicle is too heavy from extra items in the trunk or cabin, the extra weight affects the performance of the vehicle. Removing items you no longer need to carry with you can help increase fuel economy and performance.