It’s summer for sure, and that means that temperatures are climbing all over the nation, and vehicle air conditioners are working overtime to keep drivers and passengers cool and comfortable on the roads. What’s the most effective way to cool your car quickly, and keep it cool all summer long? Consider our tips for vehicle AC optimization, and you’ll be cool as a cucumber even on the warmest days.
Crack a Window. If you’re able to, leave the windows slightly down on hotter days to help reduce the buildup of heat. Your vehicle’s AC system removes heat, so the cooler your car is to begin with, the faster you’ll be comfortable.
Air it Out. When you first sit down in your car, crank those windows down or open all the doors for a moment, to vent the hottest air away quickly.
Go for the Max. When you start you car, go ahead and set the AC to MAX and use the highest fan speed. This will move the highest volume of air, and usually recirculates it for a faster cooldown period. Once you’re comfortable, you can switch to a normal, or outside setting, and lower the fan speed.
How Low Can You Go? When you start your AC, set the temperature to the lowest possible setting (assuming you have the blue-red bar temperature setting). Why? In a typical vehicle AC system, air gets cooled to 38 degrees Fahrenheit, and a higher temperature setting actually makes the system re-heat the air.
Don’t Pre-cool. Your vehicle’s AC compressor is operated by the engine itself, so it works much more effectively when you’re driving. Sitting in one spot while waiting for the car to cool off wastes gas, and keeps you warm longer.
Don’t Recirculate with Backseat Passengers. If you’ve got passengers in the back seat, when the vehicle cools off, turn off recirculating air. This pulls air from the front of the vehicle’s cabin and pulls it through the AC system again, keeping the front area cool, but the back seat can get a little stale.
Disable Stop/Start. In a newer car that has an automatic stop/start system, disabling this will ensure the compressor keeps running, keeping you cool. Of course, this spends a little more fuel, but on a hot day you can notice the breaks in the AC very quickly, especially at longer lights or in stop-and-go traffic.
Keep a Clean Cabin Air Filter. Does your vehicle have a cabin air filter? Check your manual or ask your mechanic, and make sure it’s clean. A dirty cabin filter restricts air flow, and it’s fairly easy to check and replace them.
Automatic Climate Control. If your vehicle has an automatic climate control system, lowering the temperature setting won’t cool your car faster. Just set it and forget it!