Is Using The A/C Bad For Your Car? (Explained For Beginners)

Using the A/C in hot weather becomes essential to avoid tiredness and fatigue.

Car’s are designed to work with the adjustable A/C setting depending o your needs.

There are some things you should know about your vehicle’s A/C before you start using it.

One of them is, finding out if using the A/C is bad for your car.

Find Out If Using A/C Is Bad For Your Car

Using your car’s A/C  is actually good for your car as long as you do so properly. Keeping the air conditioner running throughout the summer and even during the winter will keep the cooling system components from deteriorating, keeping the oil seals from becoming brittle and leaking. Furthermore, it prolongs the vehicle’s service life, reducing the need for expensive cooling system repairs in local auto shops.

car a/c push switch
Car A/C push switch with controls


Does Using A/C Use Additional Fuel Or Gas?

However, sometimes having the A/C on can be more fuel-efficient overall, even though it increases gas consumption.

When you travel at highway speeds – anything above 55 mph, or 85 kilometers per hour – with the windows down, the engine must work harder to compensate for the aerodynamic drag.

Gas is consumed at a higher rate when an engine is working harder.

You won’t have to work as hard on the engine if you put the AC on instead.

When the windows are down, there is far less aerodynamic drag than when the AC is powered.

Keeping cool over long distances will be more efficient using this method.

Does Using A/C Heat Up Your Car Engine?

Mercedes Benz control panel
Mercedes Benz control panel with A/C and Sync On

Since there is more strain on the engine to operate the AC compressor, air conditioning actually creates more heat in the engine compartment.

In order to drive the AC compressor, the engine’s serpentine belt needs more energy. While the air conditioning is on, your performance and fuel economy may actually decrease slightly.

It’s likely that the engine fan will run louder when the AC is on.

In order to combat the extra engine heat generated, the fan may operate at a higher speed, or a secondary air conditioner fan may operate to provide additional cooling. As soon as the air conditioning is turned on, the cooling fan module or resistor engages.

In some cases, when the air conditioning is on, the engine temperature can climb higher than normal, suggesting a problem with the cooling fan. If your engine temperature is higher than usual, get your car checked out.

Does Using A/C Use Up Your Car Battery?

The battery will not be depleted by the A/C as long as the car is running. It is not necessary to charge your car’s battery when running the A/C, because it is only a mode for vehicles, not an electrical component.

In the event that your car’s ignition is set to auxiliary and the air conditioner is left running, the battery will be used to power the A/C, and eventually, the battery will be drained.

How Long Will The Car Battery Last With The A/C On?

According to the vehicle, the battery brand, and the battery’s overall health, the exact amount of time varies. With the A/C running, a fully charged and in good condition battery could last several hours.

It may take only a few minutes for an old battery or one that has been partially drained to lose its power.

An air conditioning compressor in a vehicle is powered by the engine through an electromagnetic clutch.

While the engine is still running, the clutch coupling eventually doesn’t have enough power to hold on to the engine if the alternator quits working; the timing will depend on how fast the fan is running and other electrical loads.

Is It Bad To Use A/C While The Car Is Idle?

You don’t necessarily need to worry about your car getting damaged if you idle with the AC on because most cars can handle such a scenario without serious damage.

However, idling with the AC on isn’t really as ideal as actually moving because it causes poor airflow and a waste of power.

In the future or right now, you shouldn’t worry too much if your car tends to idle a lot when it is running your AC, because this shouldn’t ruin your car.

The engine should not be allowed to run while the AC is on when you are not moving, even if this is not the most ideal situation, but your car shouldn’t sustain lasting damage.  When the components are working properly, the AC in a car should function under any kind of condition.

In this case, the AC will still work properly even if the car isn’t moving.

When you idle, however, the AC may not work or blow cool air.

The AC’s performance drops when the car is not moving, but it’s barely noticeable when it does.

Is It Bad To Use A/C When The Car Engine Is Off?

If you leave the AC on after your engine has been turned off, your battery will be drained. Whenever the car windows are raised and the engine is turned off, the AC releases toxic chemicals and/or gasses. The interior of the car is also not ventilated.

It is likely that you will be affected by toxic components in the vehicle when you get into it after a long period of time. The AC and compressor are automatically turned off in recent models if the engine is turned off.

The AC doesn’t need to be turned off before the car is turned off in such cases. The AC and other electrical components should be turned off before the car is switched off if it is an older car. Modern cars are auto-regulated, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

What Is The Best Time To Turn The A/C On?

During the summer, it’s best to start and let your car run before turning on the air conditioner.

In order to keep your air conditioner working properly, you should plan to use it every day.

It is only when the air conditioning system is regularly used that air vents and other mechanisms will remain in good condition.

Keep the AC running for at least 10-15 minutes every week so the system gets regulated and oil moves freely lubricating the seals and keeping them from getting brittle and leaking.

Final Thoughts

Using your A/C properly is not bad for your car and can actually help keep the vents and tubes that are part of the air system clean.

Leaving the A/C on when the car is off can put a strain on your battery and even drain it completely.

It’s best to start your car and then start the A/C on instead of starting the car with the A/C already turned on.

Operating the A/C properly will improve the lifespan of your vehicle and reduce the need for maintenance.


Is It Bad to Start Your Car With the AC On? – Your Motor Fix

Why you should definitely not use the air conditioning in your car (

Is It Bad to Let Your Car Idle ❤️ 5 Big Problems You Might Face (