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It’s too hot. North America and Europe are getting slammed with a boiling heatwave right now. Despite the fact that I should be focusing on climate change, all I can do is reminisce about an old car feature that went the way of automatic seatbelts. I’m talking, of course, about the AC vents that cars used to have that aimed directly at the driver’s crotch. I’m sorry if this comes off as crude. I don’t mean it to be. It’s just a biological reality; our cars used to address it and have since stopped. We got to bring the crotch vent back. 

The crotch cooler vent on a Buick Grand National
Crotch Cooler vent | Doug DeMuro via YouTube

What happened to the AC crotch vent?

Crotch vents used to be a normal feature across numerous makes of cars, from full-size Chevy pickup trucks to the Dodge Caravan and even the beloved Supra and FD RX-7. These things were real, people, and we stood by and watched as automakers just took them.

It’s a damn shame, honestly. It is the one feature on a car that everyone, regardless of gender, race, nationality, size, politics, religion, astrological sign, or anything else you can think of; we all want crotch comfort. It’s the great equalizer; the glue that binds us all. So, what the hell? Why did car makers take it away? 

As we press deeper into summer, temps are already breaking records. It’s hot out here. The Drive brought to our attention that one bright young man tapped into the annals of history and resurrected the crotch vent. 

A user on the ToyotaNation blog recently posted that since Toyota had left an empty space in his Toyota Corolla where the factory left open in leu of the crotch vent. He decided to make use of the spot. He cut holes to allow the AC to flow through the low-slung vent. Now, the crotch sweat in his Corolla is at a minimum. 

Do cooled seats work as well as the crotch vent? 

Dashboard and front seats in 2022 Honda Pilot
2022 Honda Pilot | Honda

I know that many of us have cars with heated and cooled seats these days. Although cooled seats do wonders in the back-sweat department, does it work better than the crotch vent for other sweaty zones? The is probably that it does, but the crotch vent was a far easier and cheaper way to achieve the same comfort. 

Furthermore, if the cooled seats eliminated crotch sweat and the need for the vent, then why are so many people still asking for the crotch vent to make a comeback? The Drive mentions that there are years worth of forum posts that show a great many drivers who mourn the loss of the vent. Some folks even took matters into their own hands about the issue. The YouTube channel Unnecessary Inventions created a device for their Ford Bronco called the “Jewel Cooler.” Instead of adding an extra vent, the Jewel Cooler clips onto an existing dashboard vent to route air through a tube that sticks up into the bottom of the driver’s shorts. 

Admittedly, this invention is a touch goofy and maybe even crass, but it illustrates a desire for greater crotch comfort for warm-weather drivers. 

Can the crotch vent come back? 

It’s hard to say if the crotch vent will ever make its return. The way car tech is going; the vent feels a little too practical and analog to make it to new cars. However, in the land of supply shortages and not enough computer chips to go around, maybe an extra vent hole is perfectly analog to fit the strangeness of our time.