How to cool down your car quickly without wasting gas

Consumer Reports experts weigh in with tips

(CONSUMER REPORTS) – When your car has been parked outside on a hot day, you know that feeling of opening your car door and getting hit with a blast of hot, humid air. Getting a quick cooldown with your car’s air conditioning is what you need, but what’s the most efficient and effective way to get it? The experts at Consumer Reports share some tips for fast, fuel-efficient car 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’s air conditioning works much better when driving because the faster the engine turns, the faster the AC compressor runs, which lets the system cool more effectively.

Start driving. 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.

Then adjust the AC to the lowest temp and make adjustments to the fan speed and direction to make yourself comfortable. This will make the AC unit efficient, dry out the air more, and save some fuel.

And if you have passengers in the back seat, make sure you turn off recirculation mode so that the air in the back doesn’t get stale and hot.

Another tip from CR: If you have a newer car with an auto stop/start system, you may want to disable it, 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. You’ll want to keep that running while stuck in stop-and-go traffic on your way to the beach.

And 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!

When you’re parked in a sunny spot, here’s a simple tip to save your rear: Leave a small towel on your seat so that you won’t get burnt, especially if bare skin will touch the seat.

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