• Marco Bonifaccino

Why car AC performance is even more important in winter

With freezing temperatures come frosty windshields and, if the windshield isn’t clearing well, it impedes the driver’s view. That’s when accidents can happen more readily.

Summertime driving in hot weather compels drivers to turn the air conditioning on, cooling them off on a sunny, warm day. And when the A/C isn’t working up to their expectations, it’s an easy decision to bring their car into the shop to have it checked and repaired. Often their comfort trumps the cost of a repair, even for larger-ticket items like a compressor or evaporator core.

But should a problem become evident in late summer or the transition to winter, those same motorists might delay the diagnosis and repair. “Why fix the AC right before winter?”, they say. However, dealerships and independent repairs shops alike fail to fully explain the reasons that the air conditioning should be fixed in what drivers consider the “off-season”. And as we know, it’s the reasons to test car AC performance in the winter and shoulder seasons are even more important than a summer reprieve from the heat.

High humidity creates discomfort

Stroll outside when the temperature hovers right around the freezing mark. It’s cool, but the temperature barely warrants the shivers that you’re trying to suppress. But when the temperature drops another 20 degrees, the air is cold and crisp but you don’t “feel it” quite as much. Perhaps that’s partially from being better layered to insulate against the cold, but in part it’s because the air is less laden with moisture. That same effect is present when you’re in the car.

Air conditioning removes humidity from the air inside your car’s cabin, and the cold and humid air against your skin creates those shiver-inducing chi