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Consumer Reports: Expert ways to cool down your car fast

Posted at 7:23 AM, Jul 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-20 08:23:08-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF/CONSUMER REPORTS) — When your car has been parked outside on a hot day, you know that feeling when you open the door and are hit with a blast of hot, humid air? But there is a quick and easy way to cool it down?

Now one way to cool things down of course is just to crank up your car's air conditioning. But there's something else you can do to cool your car down even faster: quick cooling.

The first thing to know about quick cooling — movement is your friend. So this isn't the time to use your car’s remote start. It won’t do much to cool down your car, and you’ll be wasting fuel.

"Your car air conditioning works much better when you're actually driving because the faster the engine turns, the faster the AC compressor runs, which lets the system cool more effectively," said Mike Quincy, a car expert with Consumer Reports.

Start driving, then turn on the air conditioner and open all the windows for 10 to 20 seconds.

Next, crank the fan. Once cold air starts flowing through the vents, roll up the front windows, but keep the rear ones cracked open for another 10 to 20 seconds to pull the cold air to the back of the car.

"Next adjust the AC to lowest temp and make adjustments to the fan speed and direction to make you comfortable. This will actually make the AC unit efficient, will dry out the air more, and can actually save some fuel," Quincy said.

If you have passengers in the back seat, make sure you turn off recirculation mode, so the air in the back doesn't get stale and hot.

Another tip from Consumer Reports — if you’ve got a newer car with an auto start-stop system, you may want to turn it off, if that’s an option. This feature saves fuel by shutting off the car’s engine when you’re stopped, but it may also shut off the car’s AC compressor. Something you’ll want to keep running while stuck in stop-and-go traffic on your way to the beach.

When you get a chance, check your cabin air filter to make sure it’s clean. A dirty filter prevents optimal airflow and on a hot day, you don’t want anything between sweaty you and the sweet, cold air.

Finally, keep a small towel on your seat so that when you get in the car, especially if you're wearing shorts — you won’t get burnt by the hot seat.