Summer is officially here! Honda imparts practical tips on proper use and maintenance of car air-conditioning unit to beat the summer heat. The air-conditioning unit is an indispensable item in today's car especially in a tropical country such as ours.

In new cars, problems hardly ever occur but after a length of time, depending on the working conditions, its efficiency naturally diminishes. So, it is advisable that car owners know how to properly use and maintain the car's air-con system in order to obtain the longest possible service.

Here are the following suggestions:

1. Check the position of the compressor control switch (A/C knob) if it is in the 'open' or 'shut off' position. One should shut if off before starting the engine. This will avoid unnecessary drag caused by the compressor while cranking the engine.

2. Once the engine runs on, switch the fan on first. Blow the air-con's fan at the highest speed for about a minute in order to clear away the hot air trapped in the air-con's ducts. Then, depress the A/C knob to turn the compressor on at coolest temperature. The next step is to adjust the fan speed and temperature control switch to the level most comfortable to you.

3. Switch off the compressor before cutting off the engine. Keep the fan on at highest speed so that it blows away all humidity trapped inside the evaporator or 'air-box.' This will help eliminate the smell of stale air when you subsequently turn on air-con again, and at the same time, to lengthen the service of the evaporator. The process only takes about 2-3 minutes.

The smell of stale air inside air-con ducts can be eliminated by simply parking your car in a sunny, open space. Open all doors and leave the car for about 2-3 hours or until the smell finally disappears. Make sure that the sun's ray reaches the greater part of the cabin. If the stale smell still persists, however, consult a reliable service center nearby.