How To Maximize Your Car’s AC This Summer

The first few minutes of being in your car after it’s been sitting outside in the sun feel like the hottest place in the world – it might even make you question why you pay for that expensive gym membership with the sauna when you can get the sauna experience for free. Maximizing your car’s AC sounds great for many people, and in fact, it’s a big part of car safety when you have young family members or furry pets that can overheat quickly. You want to get the most out of your car’s AC, and you want to get your car cool down as fast as possible.

Tips for a quick cool down

The first thing to do if you are traveling with back seat passengers is to turn the air conditioning on and turn off the recirculation option. This function recirculates air throughout the cabin but inevitably pushes hotter air to the back seats.

Dials for the air conditioning system on the dash
Manual air conditioning (AC) switch | Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images

This next tip seems obvious, but it might not be – turn your air conditioning setting down to the lowest temperature possible. This helps your air compressor work at full capacity instead of having to toggle between heating and cooling, which happens when it’s trying to balance a specific temperature. It might seem counterintuitive but it does save more gas this way also.

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If you have a car that has the stop/start feature which lets your car idle at a stoplight, summer is the time to turn this feature off. When the car idles in the stop mode, the air conditioning compressor turns off as well, which means you’re not getting air conditioning in the cabin or air conditioning is minimal.

Maintenance and features

If there is one thing that people always forget to check and change it seems like it’s the cabin air filter. When the cabin air filter is full, it prevents air from circulating effectively, which can reduce your car’s air conditioning system’s ability to function properly.

Dog relaxing in the car | CLAUDIO CRUZ/AFP via Getty Images

Some cars, like my newer BMW, have the option of circulating the air through the cabin from the outside of the car at a set time. This helps the car from getting too stuffy but isn’t overly helpful if it’s just as hot outside.

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Getting your car to cool down isn’t always the easiest task, and it’s certainly not a quick fix, but as long as you are following these steps, your car should cool down a little bit quicker, and even more effectively.