ORLANDO, Fla. – Summer is here, which means that “feels like” that temperatures will routinely rise to 110 degrees in the Orlando area.
However, one of the worst parts of the scorching heat is getting into the car, especially if it has been in the sun for hours.
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Consumer Reports puts its engineers to the test to provide tips on how to cool your car while using less fuel.
Do not catch a cold
Your car air conditioner works much better when you actually drive, because the faster the engine runs, the faster the air compressor runs, which allows the system to cool more efficiently. Do not waste time and petrol by letting the car drive before you leave.
If the interior is very hot, turn up the fan when you start driving and only open the rear windows for 10 to 20 seconds. This forces all the hot air out of the cabin. Do not open the front windows – it will only move the heat out of the front of the car, and it will leave the air in the rear of the passenger compartment warm and stationary.
Setting the lowest temp and adjusting the fan makes the car’s air conditioner more efficient, will dry out the air less, and can actually save some fuel. Why? In a typical A / C system, the air is cooled to 38 degrees. Setting the temperature higher actually forces the system to reheat the air, which requires more effort and burns more fuel.
Do not recycle
If you have passengers in the back seat, turn off the recycle mode. This takes air from the front of the cabin and pulls it back through the system, so even if everyone in the front stays cool, the air in the back can become stale and hot.
Switch off stop / start
If you have a newer car that has an automatic start / stop system, turn it off. This feature saves fuel, but it can also prevent the car climate compressor from running when it shuts off the engine. In very hot weather, you can begin to notice the lack of cool air very quickly, especially if you are stuck at a long stop light, or in stop-and-go traffic that is barely moving.
Make sure your filter is clean
Next time you get the chance, check the cabin air filter to make sure it’s clean. A dirty filter prevents optimal airflow. In newer cars, these filters are relatively easy to check on; If you see a lot of dirt accumulating on it, it’s time to change it. You can save money if you can change the filter yourself – in many modern cars the filter is available behind the glove compartment. But that is not always the case. In some vehicles, such as the first-generation Honda Pilot, the entire dashboard must be removed to access the cabin air filter, and this is not a job for the faint of heart.
Bonus: automatic climate control
If you have automatic climate control, do not lower the temperature to cool the car faster. Most systems will make all fan and temperature adjustments automatically, so you can just tune in and forget about it.
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