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When To Use Your Car's Air Recirculation Button

Understanding when to use your car's air recirculation button can significantly impact your driving comfort and vehicle efficiency.

Car's Air Recirculation Button
Credit: Will Morrison / Facebook

On a hot day, getting into your car can feel like stepping into a sauna, says TheCarExpert. What usually follows is a scramble to put your keys in the ignition so you can get the air conditioning running to make the heat more manageable.

Most of us immediately turn the air conditioning dial into the blue zone and crank the fan speed up to max, overlooking an important feature on the dashboard – the air-recirculation button. Most vehicles have a recirculation button with the AC controls in their cars. But many of us are unsure when to use it. Well, the easy answer is to use it in the summer and turn it off in the winter.

The recirculation button simply takes the air from inside the car and recirculates it in the cabin instead of pulling fresh air from outside. When it's hot outside, if you do not recirculate the cooler air in the cabin, than your AC system is pulling hot air from outside and trying to cool it. Using the recirculation feature will get your car cooler and will decrease the wear and tear on your AC system.

Side note, if your car has been baking in the sun, it's better to roll the windows down and turn recirculate off for the first minute or so to get rid of the super hot air inside the car before turning the recirculate on.

Also, any time you are stuck in traffic (summer or winter) be sure to use the recirculate. If you are pulling air from outside, then you are pulling in all the pollutants and carbon monoxide from all the traffic. Studies show that recirculating your AC can cut down on the pollutants entering your vehicle by 20 percent when stuck in traffic.


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