Air-con­di­tion­ing pro­tec­tion

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Help! -

My 1994 Mercedes-benz E320 coupé has done about 100,000 miles and is now mainly used for long dis­tance con­ti­nen­tal driv­ing in sum­mer. To keep the air­con in con­di­tion, I take it for a 20-mile drive ev­ery month for the rest of the year. How­ever, in or­der to avoid salty roads in the win­ter, is it sen­si­ble to let the car tick over on the drive with the air­con run­ning un­til it is fully warmed up – say, for 30 min­utes ev­ery month? Al­lan Luskow The ba­sic rec­om­men­da­tion to main­tain the air-con­di­tion­ing sys­tem is that it should be op­er­ated for at least 10 min­utes ev­ery month. This is to cir­cu­late the re­frig­er­ant through the sys­tem – the re­frig­er­ant car­ries the nec­es­sary lu­bri­cants to keep the sys­tem in op­ti­mum con­di­tion, pre­vent­ing the seals from dry­ing out and sub­se­quently shrink­ing and leak­ing.

By giv­ing the ve­hi­cle a run, as you have been do­ing, you are ful­fill­ing these re­quire­ments while also en­sur­ing the en­gine reaches full op­er­at­ing tem­per­a­ture. I can fully un­der­stand your re­luc­tance to take your ve­hi­cle out when the roads have been salted, as the cor­ro­sive sub­stance could get thrown up un­der your ve­hi­cle, caus­ing long-term prob­lems. Run­ning the ve­hi­cle once a month sta­tionery and al­low­ing it to reach full work­ing tem­per­a­ture will be the best ac­tion to help pre­vent any prob­lems in the fu­ture.

Also, as the ve­hi­cle’s fuel will not be re­plen­ished dur­ing the stor­age pe­riod, it may be worth adding a fuel sta­biliser to the tank to pre­vent the build-up of var­nish and de­posits in the fuel sys­tem.

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