When you live in a region as beautiful as the Sunshine Coast, you don’t always want to feel as though you are trapped inside your car. This explains why so many people turn off the air conditioning in their vehicle as they roll down the windows and let the fresh air in. While this may feel like a return to nature, a study out of Washington University in the US shows that doing this may actually be bad for your health. They suggest that leaving your car AC running is actually a better idea, and while it sounds a little crazy, it is actually based in well-researched fact.
The reality here is that as soon as you open up the window in your car, you are letting in all kinds of air pollution, which is something that you wouldn’t really notice, since all you will be feeling is the wind in your hair and the smell of the ocean in your nostrils. The engineers at Washington University proved this point by adding portable pollution-measuring sensors to the vehicles that they tested, and the results that came back were not very good for those of you who like to ride around with the car windows down.
The vehicles used in the test were tracked over a 4-month period, and the results clearly showed that the occupants of the car were hit by pollutants in the air at a rather alarming rate. There were situations where the pollution levels were greater than most, with construction zones and heavy traffic areas adding to the level of the pollution inside the vehicle. Even in fairly normal driving conditions, though, the pollution levels inside the cabin were still enough to be considered alarming. While this is bad news for people who love the windows open, it’s not all doom and gloom.
During the study, engineers also tested the pollution levels while the windows were open and the car air conditioning was left running. The results here were also surprising, as it was revealed that the pollution levels inside the test vehicles were reduced by as much as 20-34% while the AC was on. It is the cold evaporator in the vehicles that was responsible for combatting all that pollution, and that is why you should definitely have your AC unit running in the car even when the windows are down.
The AC in our vehicles is something that we all tend to take for granted until it goes down. It’s always a good idea to maintain a regular air conditioning service schedule from your local auto electrician so that you never have to worry about AC issues. Take your vehicle in for a regas service every so often, and have the technicians make sure that no potential issues are about to arise. We understand how much fun it is to drive along the coast with your ca windows down, but we suggest that you breathe easier by making sure that your air conditioning is running while you drive.