In many modern cars, when you turn on the option to demist the windscreen the air conditioning automatically comes on as well. Logical for the warm days of summer, but what about winter? Why would you possibly need the air conditioning on when it’s snowing outside?

Well, it turns out that your car’s not just being contrary and there are several good reasons for it. Here’s a quick rundown of why using your air con in winter isn’t as crazy as it sounds.

Clear your windscreen

You’ve probably noticed that your windscreen has an annoying tendency to mist up from time to time, particularly in the damper and colder months of autumn and winter.

In very simple terms, this happens when warm, moist air (created by the heat of your body and the car’s interior) meets a cold surface (your windscreen). Condensation forms and you’re left with a windscreen that looks like a fog bank has rolled in.

Air conditioning systems are the perfect way to overcome this problem as they operate like dehumidifiers and basically remove moisture from the air. So, if your car doesn’t already switch your AC on when you aim your air vents at the windscreen, make sure that button is pressed. Just remember to adjust the temperature before turning it on if you don’t want to freeze!

Keep the system flowing

Like with your overall car itself, your air conditioning system uses refrigerants and oils that need to circulate throughout the system in order to keep everything lubricated. If you go too long without using that system, then you run the risk of it seizing up and repairs being needed somewhere down the line.

We definitely recommend that you keep your air conditioning running smoothly by firing it up every so often during the winter months.

Stay on top of maintenance

Air conditioning isn’t covered by an MOT and so it’s a system that can sometimes get forgotten about by drivers. Using it on a regular basis is a way to keep on top of any issues and find solutions as soon as they arise.

After all, the last thing you want is to press that button on the first really hot day of the year only to find that nothing comes out! You want an AC that’s there when you need it, so make sure you know what’s going on within your system.

Save money

As we mentioned earlier, a lack of use can lead to a need for repairs (as can not staying on top of the maintenance). While you might feel that using your air con regularly throughout winter is a bit of waste, the truth is that it can be much more cost-effective to recharge or service your system than to sort a more serious problem.

At Halfords we offer a range of great air conditioning products and services to help your windscreens stay clear during the winter and your car stay cool during the summer:

  • Free Air Con Check: We check the pressure of your system, your gas quantity and your refrigerant levels, all for free!
  • Air Conditioning Antibacterial Clean: If your air con’s developed a nasty smell then this could indicate a build up of bacteria in the system, so get booked in for an anti-bacterial clean.
  • Air Con Diagnostic: This is a thorough inspection that takes place at one of garages. We’ll check the temperature and refrigerant, and also the system for any faults or leaks using a professional nitrogen test, and then provide you with the option for a full air con service including a full re-gas/re-charge.
  • Air con products: Top-up your AC, purify your system and fix leaks yourself with our range of AC-related products.

And that’s why you should definitely continue to use your AC during winter! If you’d like any further advice on all things air conditioning, then check out our Air Conditioning Buyer’s Guide or head on over to