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Temperatures are starting to rise, and soon, many of us will experience the searing heat of summer. In the summer, it’s particularly unpleasant when you get into the hot cabin of a car. However, there is a secret button in your car, a button many people don’t even know about, that can help reduce this unpleasantness and make your ride more comfortable. On top of that, this secret button helps save gas. 

Press the air recirculation button in your car and enjoy a more comfortable ride

Dasboard in Mercedes-Benz vehicle, highlighting the air recirculation button in a car
Interior of Mercedes-Benz vehicle | Samuele Errico Piccarini via Unsplash

Most new cars have an air recirculation button on the dashboard. It typically has an “icon of a car and a sideways-u-shaped arrow inside of it.” According to Edyn Tires & Servicing via an article on Yahoo News, the “air recirculation button effectively cuts off the outside air to the inside of the car ‘recirculating’ air in your vehicle.” 

What does the air recirculation button do?

By cutting off the outside air and recirculating air inside your car, the air recirculation button does several things. This includes:

  • Aids the air conditioning system to help the cabin of your car get cooler more quickly
  • Prevents pollution, exhaust fumes, and strong odors from entering the cabin
  • Reduces pollen and the negative effects of hay fever
  • Minimizes the strain on the air conditioning system
  • Helps keep the air filtration system cleaner for a longer period of time

The air recirculation button helps save gas

Another benefit of the air recirculation button is that it helps save gas. The reason why the air recirculation button saves gas is that it reduces the strain on the air conditioning system, resulting in less energy usage. The less energy the air conditioning system uses, the less fuel your car will consume. Considering the high price of gas these days, this is an appealing benefit.

When to use — and not use the air recirculation button

These are the situations in which you should use the air recirculation button:

  • During the summer and hot weather
  • When using the air conditioning system
  • When driving in heavy traffic to prevent pollution from entering the cabin
  • If the pollen count is high and you suffer from hay fever

The situations in which you should not use the air recirculation system are during the winter and cold weather. You might think that pressing the air recirculation button will prevent cold air from coming in from the outside when using a heater in the winter. However, it’s best to keep the air recirculation button switched off when it’s cold outside. This is because the “standard ‘fresh air’ mode forces the outside air through your heater core” so it’s warm before it reaches the cabin, and “your windows will de-fog a lot quicker and stay that way while you drive.”

Disadvantages of air recirculation button

Also, you might want to avoid the air recirculation button during rainy weather or times of high humidity. The air recirculation button “can cause your windscreen to mist up and trap humidity in the cabin.” Also, if your car is “fully loaded with passengers, it can cause it to be stuffy and may make you drowsy.”

If you can’t find the air recirculation button in your car, don’t be alarmed. There is a possibility that it doesn’t have one. Some modern cars automatically adjust the air circulation with sensors that monitor the air and moisture levels in the cabin.


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