Unused air conditioning - the largest concern for drivers after winter

A survey has revealed that 73 per cent of motorists think their air conditioning system – neglected through a winter of zero use – is the part of their cars that require the most attention after a long winter’s motoring.

That’s right. Not engines, or tyres, or brakes – items all subject to a corrosive combination of rain and road salt – but air conditioning.

The results, from a poll by the Good Garage Scheme, showed that the vast proportion of people surveyed are most worried about whether they will stay cool in the car now the spring weather is here.

Just 11 per cent were most worried about the state of their car’s engine, with six per cent worried about what a harsh winter could do to tyres, five per cent concerned about tired windscreen wipers and four per cent bothered about the key safety aspect of any vehicle, its brakes.

Of course, repairing air conditioning problems are not cheap, and can have a big impact on how pleasant the car is to drive.

If you’ve ever smelt that musty “green” aroma that a worn-out air conditioning system can produce, you wont be surprised to hear that poorly maintained and rarely used air-con can cause the build-up of mould and bacteria that has been linked to medical ailments such as influenza.

Medical professionals have even linked the harmful microorganisms in a neglected air conditioning system’s output to Legionnaires’ disease – a potentially deadly condition.

Water droplets distributed over a wide area – such as those found in air conditioning systems – spread Legionella bacteria, the root cause of the disease.

So, maybe the 73 per cent of car owners are right – we should be worrying about our air-con after a winter of disuse, if for nothing other than the preservation of our health.

Still, it remains worrying that just four per cent of car drivers believe their brakes are the item of their cars most in need of some TLC after a hard winter on the roads….