The Great A/C Debate

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Well-Known Member
Jan 9, 2004
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So here in Colorado it is starting to get hot enough to use the A/C to cool your car. Especially if left in the sun. A friend and I were having a huge debate about the fastest way to cool the car.

I said - A/C on high, recirculate the air and have it blowing on your face, windows closed.

He said- A/C on high, outside air and have it blowing on your feet, windows slightly cracked to let the hot air out.

Is there a better method? Any advice from those in much warmer climates?

I live in Ohio, which when August hits, you better have Air Conditioning if you live in the Ohio Valley - at times we reach 100 degrees and 100 % humidity.

Almost to a person, the method we use is:

Crack 1 window about 2 to 3 inches, then turn your A/C on high. By cracking a window, you allow the hot air to be pushed out and be replaced by the cooler air.

As to how it blows, cooler air sinks, so we always have it blowing towards the roof of the car.

Again though, we don't suffer with extremes year round, but wheww..when it gets hot here, wow !

Silverleaf has a great point, but the best thing about Ohio weather, if you don't like it, wait 10 minutes. It'll change. :D

Here in Colorado we have the 5 minute rule. I have been hiking and getting hit my monster snow/slush hail type balls then 5 min later it was sunny and I was eating lunch.
I open the windows all the way, and crank the A/C, until the air temperature inside the car drops below "hot enough to weld metal" (i.e., usually about 2-3 minutes)

Once the air temperature inside the car is lower, I close the windows and turn the A/C to recirculate -- no sense recirculating that hot air, and making the car a convection oven.
You need to leave a couple windows cracked open to vent the car and not even give it a chance to build up to such high temps inside.

Otherwise, after a few years of that abuse, the decorative fabric of your headliner will separate from the backing and start drooping down inside. Looks real classy when that happens.
Originally posted by jflis
well, up till just recently all I had was 2/60 AC...

...2 windows down, 60 MPH...


I used to have the 2x60, too. :) Worked better when I'd crank it up to 2x80, but that tended to get the attention of the fine folks at the Wisconsin State Patrol.

The 2x60 system, of course, yields the ever-stylish "Detroit Tan" -- one arm, one thigh, and one side of your face.
the best thing about Ohio weather, if you don't like it, wait 10 minutes. It'll change.

Thats very true for the rest of the year - I dread August though - great for Golf and fishing, but whewww !

Originally posted by Silverleaf
I live in Ohio, which when August hits, you better have Air Conditioning if you live in the Ohio Valley - at times we reach 100 degrees and 100 % humidity.

Hopefully not at the same time! Generally once the dewpoint get's into the upper 60s forget about it. It feels lousy. St Louis was the worst place we ever lived. Upper 90s with a dewpoint of 76...
Originally posted by MetMan
Hopefully not at the same time! Generally once the dewpoint get's into the upper 60s forget about it. It feels lousy. St Louis was the worst place we ever lived. Upper 90s with a dewpoint of 76...

Chicago can get much the same. We call it "shut up and drink your air." :D Very reminiscent of that goop in "The Abyss" -- oxygenated fluorocarbon emulsion.
Uh, method for cooling a car in Florida....Rrrright. Well, let me try. (The inside temp. of a car here in mid-summer is scary. Outside temps are around 96-102+ degrees!!!)

1. Unlock car. (Use heat protective glove to prevent burning hand on door handle. A foot with shoe will work.)
2. Swing driver's side door open and back away. (Allow for hot steamy/muggy/humid air blast to exit the car.)
3. Walk around vehicle and open all doors. (Remember to use gloves.)
4. Once the temperature has dropped to a non-life threatening temperature, reach inside and place the key in the ignition. Use caution not to touch *anything*.
5. If vehicle has leather, vinyl, or any other smooth surface in the seating area, throw down a cool towel on the seat before attempting to sit in the driver's side chair.
6. In one swift move, enter the vehicle, start the ignition, flip the A/C switch ON and exit immediately. (WARNING - Air vents will blow hot scalding air. Don't even think about placing your face in front of a vent!)
7. Wait until the car's A/C unit actually pumps out any sort of lukewarm air. If your car manages to cool this air any further without overheating then consider yourself lucky.
8. When buckling the seatbelt, remember to use the protective glove as not to burn your hand.
9. Gloves for touching the steering wheel are recommended unless the A/C vents have done their job. Beware of the shifter for it will be glowing red hot as well.
10. If your A/C never manages to cool the air, find the nearest interstate and drive like a madman with the windows down.

Ya gotta love "sunny" Florida! Yep...I'm tired of burning my legs, arms, fingers, neck, etc from hot buckles or other plastic or metallic parts of the car. BTW, you don't lean on Florida cars in the summer!!! And don't go running through on the blacktop street barefoot! Yowsa!
Yeppers, we're in the valley, which has a lot of creeks, ponds, lakes and the like. We're up above the basin here, surrounded by trees, but when there is no wind - you sweat till you can't sweat no more then do it again.

Sadly, when August heat hits, the wind dies down, and you'd be cooler if you turn the oven on to 150 and sit in it.

*tongue planted in cheek*..

At night time, I have the dual window fans drawing cold air into the bedroom, when I'm ready to about nice !

Otherwise I adore Ohio, diversity in weather and 4 full seasons, along with where we live is super quiet - out in the country away from all that noise..Bleh!
San Diego: Weather never gets below 40, ocassionally gets above 90, usually less than 40% humidity. The desert, on the other hand......... :eek:

Seriously, though, I grew up in N.Ca, where we typically got over 100 several days a year. Our trick was to set the air to outside, crack the windows until the air cooled off a little, then switch to recirc, windows up. Face/Feet feels cool, but windshield/feet does the best actual cooling (directs cold air to top of car to descend onto the riders).

I lived in Columbia, SC, for 4 years - 1990-1994. I refer to those as my "living in h*e*l*l" years. It is not uncommon for the temp to get to 110-112 in the summer, with a heat index of 118 and humidity of 100%.

If you want to be able to drive your car without waiting for 10 or 15 minutes, you kept a thick *white* towel in your car and you put this over your steering wheel. Otherwise, you simply couldn't drive the car because you couldn't touch the wheel. No way, no how.

I had friends and relatives that would visit us from Florida, with the intent of staying for a full week. It was not unusual for them to go home after 2 or 3 days because "it was just too hot." They wanted to get back to Florida, where at least there was a "breeze."

There is no breeze in Columbia. Nothing to provide relief from the ever oppressive heat. The ground is sand, which also absorbs and then radiates the heat. It was not uncommon in July and August that it would still be 85 or 90 degrees at 3AM or 4AM. It just never cooled down during the summer. It wasn't uncommon for an air conditioner to run for *weeks* at a time in the summer without stopping.

And then there were the fire ants..... I still have scars from fire ants.
In other words...

I'm happy to hear that where I live it isn't the only hotter than heck place. Guess I should be a bit more grateful for where I am. 8)
I am sure thankful that I live here in Colorado - we have 100 degree weather, but 15% humidity...
My way is far more simple.

Park car in garage :)

If unsuccessful, leave sunroof cracked and AC on. use remote car starter from office window. :D

I know, everbody loves a showoff...

On the other hand, I grew up in El Paso, TX. We are talking 120's in late July - Mid August. First car was blue with black vinyl seats. Try that one with shorts and no shirt....:eek:
I just installed a remote starter on my fiances car - she loves to warm it in the winter and cool it in the summer. She gets about 1000' feet...also a show-off. But that is what I get for spoiling her.

My first car was a 4-door Dodge Aspen!
No a/c, but I could take advantage of the "4-80" cooling system!
I had a little trouble once trying to explain my method
to a local County Mounty.......
Those vinyl seats were murder!
As mentioned earlier, St Louis summers can melt
rockets on the pad!!
It's not that uncommon for glass to blow out of a
car parked in the sun!
We took a trip out to Phoenix once......My Uncle boasted
"Its better than that soupy summer heat in St. Louis because
it's a Dry Heat!" ...Yeah? So's my Oven!!!!
The way we look at it here is it's a perfect happy medium!
Winters have some cold days but are mostly mild.
Summers can be blistering but not as bad as the far south:
The redeeming factors are Spring and Fall!!!!!
Right now it is absolutely Paradise here!
And the colors in the fall........OMG!!!!!!!!!!
Dr Don
Altus, Oklahoma. In August. 15 miles to Texas, 20 to h*ll. Gah. If humans can live there, the moon will be easy.
I was born in Phoenix. 127 degrees one summer. You had to use an ice chest to get groceries home or just go at night. Many stores in Phoenix and Tucson stay open until 11 pm so that at only 105 degrees you can get milk home...
honestly, just a few minutes in that heat takes a week off the shelf-life of refrigerated and frozen foods.