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Happy Birthday air-con: still cool after 80 years

Kwik Fit | Monday 25th November 2013 9:00am

Automotive air conditioning is 80 years old this year, but this veteran needs a bit more care and attention - air con is not just for summer.

In 1933, a company in New York began to fit air conditioning into vehicles for the very first time. According to the November 1933 edition of 'Popular Science', the technology was regarded as "remarkable" but new research indicates that modern motorists may be a little too blase about this revolution in automotive comfort. Kwik Fit has found that only one in ten drivers have their air con recharged at their annual service.

Today the vast majority of new cars have air conditioning as standard, a far cry from those days of the early innovators. In 1939 US car manufacturer Packard marketed the first automobile with packaged air conditioning as an option costing $2742 approximately £34,180 in today's money. Back then, the refrigeration compressor ran off the vehicle's engine, had no thermostat and simply discharged the cooled air from the back of the car.

Modern systems are more complex (read our blog post on how your air conditioning works), and require appropriate maintenance, however research carried out by Kwik Fit reveals that many drivers are not servicing their air con systems as frequently as they should. We found that fewer than one in ten drivers ask for their air con systems to be serviced at their car's annual service. With manufacturers recommending that air conditioning systems are recharged every two years, this indicates that four out of five drivers are neglecting the maintenance of a feature which can be of immense benefit in the winter, as well as summer.

On a cold, dark winter's day, you could be forgiven for overlooking your car's air conditioning system. But did you know your air con can effectively and rapidly demist your windscreen by producing dry warm air, ensuring maximum visibility when you need it most? As well as being useful in winter, air con should be regularly turned on outside the summer months to ensure the system remains charged and does not dry out. However, our research also found that when outside temperatures get cooler, many drivers tend to neglect their air con. In fact, as few as one in fifteen drivers get their air con serviced in the winter months.

Even when used regularly, in today's vehicles, Kwik Fit believes that around 10% of air-con gas permeates from the system each year and that the systems need recharging with gas & lubricant every two years.

But threat not, Kwik Fit offers an air-con recharge service at over 600 centres in the UK. And if we can’t reduce the temperature of your aircon by more than 10% then we won’t charge a penny. Book an aircon recharge at Kwik Fit now or find your nearest Kwik Fit centre – no appointment necessary.


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