In-car air con now 80 years old

It is 80 years since the first car using air conditioning took to the road.

Having becoming highly popular in modern vehicles, in-car air conditioning has celebrated its 80th birthday.

The technology was first introduced into cars in New York in 1933, with a copy of the November 1933 issue of Popular Science describing it as "remarkable".

Naturally, the main benefit of air conditioning is to keep people cool while driving during hot weather, however it is also useful in winter for quickly clearing mist and ice from the windscreen by drying out the glass and removing the vapour. As well as the benefits to the car owner, having air conditioning in your vehicle can boost its value when you come to sell it.

In recent years, air conditioning tends to be fitted as standard in vehicles and the technology has changed considerably. When the car manufacturer Packard began marketing cars with air conditioning in 1939, the refrigeration compressor was powered by the engine and did not use a thermostat.

Kwik Fit communications director Roger Griggs said: “With in-car air conditioning now commonplace, we can now only imagine the amazement which would have greeted the first demonstration 80 years ago. However it is vital that as motorists we don’t take air con for granted and ensure that it’s maintained properly. Regular servicing and recharging will ensure that the systems are working as effectively as possible.”

According to statistics from Kwik Fit, less than one in ten drivers ask to have their air con included when they take their car for its annual service.

The automotive repair specialists say that air con systems need recharging with gas and lubricant every two years, although these figures suggest that four out of five drivers fail to do so. Additionally, it predicts that roughly ten per cent of gas leaves your car's system each year.

Reasons why car air con needs to be serviced frequently is due to its frequent exposure to harsh forces, including moisture in the air, vibrations, vast changes in temperature and mechanical shock.


  • On: 04 December 2013
  • By: CarShop

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