In a tropical country like the Philippines, where temperatures can reach scorching heights, having a working air-conditioning system in your car is the difference between heaven and hell. So it's imperative that every car owner do everything he can to keep his cooling system in good order.
Here's a short list of bad habits to avoid when it comes to keeping your A/C in tip-top shape. This is by no means an exhaustive guide, but the tips listed here are worth remembering:
1) Ignoring the signs of wear.
This is a pretty obvious one, but it bears repeating. If you want your air-con to continue blasting cold air, then you have to be diligent about its maintenance. Things like ensuring proper freon levels and replacing filters regularly are a must. Here's a handy guide on how to service your A/C system, plus some key things to keep in mind.
2) Using the wrong kind of car freshener.
You naturally want to avoid having a smelly ride, so a car freshener seems like the logical choice. But you want to avoid ones that leave a sticky or greasy residue. Worse, if the contaminants seep into your A/C's parts, you may find yourself having to clean or replace said parts more often than you'd like.
3) Leaving your A/C on when you turn the engine off.
It's an old-school bit of advice, but one that's still worth heeding. Having your A/C on upon start-up (before your powerplant can reach its normal working temperature) can bear an unnecessary load on your engine. Even if you have the engine off, running the fan can drain your battery over time.
4) Using it for too long.
A reader once asked us if it was okay to sleep in his car with the A/C on (drain on his fuel budget notwithstanding). We advised against it, given that doing so can cause wear on your car's moving parts and you risk getting external pollutants into your cabin. If you need a place to crash for the night, it's best to ditch your car's A/C for the comfort of a hotel room.
5) Not using it often enough.
On the flip side, not using your A/C at all can be just as bad. Because the oil and the refrigerant inside the compressor aren't circulating, the seals in the lines and in the compressor might dry up, leading to refrigerant leaks. Non-usage can also promote moisture buildup in the air-con ducts. It's recommended that you run your air-con for at least 10 minutes on full blast every other week to prevent these from happening.