Hot in there?
In a previous article about GM vehicle’s ‘rear seat reminder’ feature to reduce heat stroke deaths, we discovered that;
Within 10 minutes, the temperature inside a vehicle can rise by 19°F
In 2-4 hrs the temperature can rise as much as 55°F. Cracking the windows has less than a 3°F difference, ie. leaving the windows open a little doesn’t help.
If it’s an option, finding a parking spot in the shade will reduce that baking sun heat from burning your vehicle up like an egg on the stove. This is isn’t always an option though, and it may still get pretty hot in there.
So how do you cool your car down faster?
Remote start AC
For vehicles equipped with remote start, start your vehicle up to ten minutes before you leave to let it cool down first. Some vehicles may have automatic climate control, in which case, the vehicle already knows the temperature. During the remote start process, the car or truck will automatically turn on the AC, and if equipped, the ventilated seats too.
If you have a Fiat, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep or RAM truck, and it’s equipped with ‘Auto On Comfort Climate‘ the vehicle will automatically turn on the AC (and ventilated seats if equipped) during remote start. That is if the temperature is at or above 80º F. To remote start the vehicle, use your key fob to press the remote start button twice. If you have the UConnect smartphone app, you can also do this via the app. Remote starting will lock the doors, so no need to worry about theft.
Newer GMC, Chevrolet, and Buick vehicles will have a similar feature that will also automatically turn on the AC and ventilated seats (if equipped). There are smartphone apps through OnStar, Chevrolet MYLink, myGMC, or myBuick that allow you remote start. Using the key fob, press and release the lock button then press and hold the semi0circle (remote start) button.
For Ford‘ and Lincoln vehicles, “If your vehicle has automatic climate control, you can configure it to begin operating when you remote start your vehicle. A manual climate control system will run at the setting it was set to when you switched the vehicle off.” To remote start a Ford, using the key fob, press the ‘lock’ button, then press the ‘remote start’ button twice. The remote start button is the circle with the arrow and 2X written on the inside of the circle.
If your vehicle has remote start, but not automatic climate control, you may have to go to the vehicle and turn on the AC manually. You’ll have to unlock and re-lock the doors to turn the climate on and keep it safe from thieves.
Open passenger window, fan drivers door (as shown in the video above)
No remote start, or don’t want to wait for the AC to kick in full blast? Another way to cool down the car is to fan out the hot air. Yip. Open a window (for example, the passenger side). Then open the opposite side door (in this example that would be the drivers’ door) and fan the door. Fan the door a few times or more. This expels the hot air out and cooler air in. This way, you’ve already gotten rid of some of the hot air so when you turn on the AC, it’s already a little cooler in the cabin. This may look a little weird to a bystander, but give it a try. Let us know if it works.
UV tinted windows
According to 3M, their automotive Crystalline Series automotive film rejects up to 60% of solar energy entering the vehicle.
Windshield sunshades/ sunscreens will also help reflect heat from the vehicle. Of course, these only work on the windshield and you still have the rest of your windows, but every little helps.
Drive / use MAX A/C
The fastest way to get the air conditioning working cooler is to drive the vehicle and get the air flowing. Just like driving helps heat up your vehicle in the winter, the same applies for cooling it down.
Turn off ‘recirculate’
The recirculation function on your blower uses the air that’s already inside the vehicle. When your car or truck is super hot, this means it’s recirculating the air that’s already hot. The air outside, even though probably still hot, might be less hot than the air inside the vehicle. Turn off the recirculation function and let some fresh air until cooled a little. When the cabin reaches a comfortable temperature, turn it back on, as the air inside will now be cooler.
Open all the windows (some cars now have this feature remotely on the key fob)
Gone are the days when you have to open every door and wind the windows down. As good as sliced bread, having electric windows means we can push them all down ‘with the touch of a button’. Some newer cars can even open all four window with the touch of a button on the key fob. For example, this feature on equipped Ford’s is called ‘Global Open Windows‘ and it works by holding down the ‘unlock’ button on the key fob for 3 seconds.
Service the A/C (HVAC) system
If your vehicle isn’t blowing cold air that’ll make you think you can freeze hearts like a Disney princess, maybe it’s time to let-it-go in for a service. A/C systems don’t typically need ‘re-charged’. It could be a leak in the system, a faulty compressor, loose hose, faulty fan, clogged hose, broken seals, refrigerant breakdown, or electrical issues.
Lauren has been working in the automotive industry both in the U.K and in the U.S. for over 10 years. A car geek, photographer, big game chaser and bagpipe player, powered by coffee. Send your questions to: