Two thirds of motorists are putting their health - and bank balances - at risk by failing to service their air conditioning systems regularly, the HiQ fast fit network has revealed.
According to HiQ, seven out of 10 motorists fail to service their air-con systems regularly and some not at all, leading to decreased levels of fuel efficiency and even asthma related health problems.
HiQ's fast fit manager Stuart Carr said that over time, air-con gas gradually depletes which then impacts upon fuel efficiency levels because the engine has to work harder.
When air conditioning systems are working effectively, a pool of water collects underneath a car as it removes any moisture.
If the system has not been serviced or had a replacement pollen filter fitted then this moisture can become a harbour for germs and bacteria.
Stuart said that the combination of moisture and bacteria in the air vents then causes a bad smell inside the car, while the bacteria has been linked to asthma and respiratory problems.
He said: "It is imperative for motorists to get their air conditioning systems serviced and the pollen filter replaced regularly, for health and financial reasons.
"We were surprised how many drivers don't treat this issue as a priority as it really does impact on the car's performance."
HiQ has reported a 15 per cent increase in the number of air-con related problems in the last month, but advises that regular checks would stop the problems occurring.
HiQ said: "It is around this time of year when we always see an increase in problems, often because motorists haven't used their air-con systems for at least six months.
"Like anything car related a poor performing system or accessory will lead to problems, which many motorists don't appreciate."
HiQ advises that air-con systems need to be serviced every two years for optimum performance with a recharge gas top up service once per annum.
"It is important for motorists to get their air-con systems serviced to avoid any unwanted problems and to use it on a regular basis throughout the year to keep the components lubricated, concluded."
Stuart said that air conditioning systems were equally effective in the winter, despite many motorists not appreciating its value in the colder months..
He added: "Because the AC system dries the air inside the car, it can be used to great effect in the winter to demist the windows. Set the temperature to hot and press the AC and recirculation buttons and the screen will clear a lot faster."