Let's face it: summer temperatures can be near unbearable here.

What happens when you combine high daily temperatures with an enclosed vehicle? Well, that's when you have a rolling oven.

We've got a few tips on how to keep your car's air conditioner working better.

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Do you see that U-Turn button on your dashboard (see photo above)? That button is actually puts your car's air handler into Recirculate Mode.

What, exactly, does that mean? Well, when the Recirculate Mode is deactivated, your car's air handler pulls in ambient air (air from outside of the car). In the summertime, the air on the outside of the vehicle is usually pretty dang warm around these parts.

If your car is constantly pulling in hot air from outside and trying to cool it, your air conditioner will have a tough time keeping up.

But, with that U-Turn button activated, the air handler in your car recirculates the air that is already inside your vehicle. What's easier to cool than hot air? Cooler air.

When you activate the Recirculate Mode, the air gets cooler every time it runs through the air handler.

This post from Tyrrell Auto Centers explains it pretty well, and also gives tips on how to keep contaminates out of your vehicle.

Tyrrell Auto Centers via Facebook
Tyrrell Auto Centers via Facebook


Most vehicles have an air filter on the car's air handling system. Most of them are located under the dashboard somewhere and, if left alone for too long, can become very dirty.

via Oreilly's Auto Parts
via Oreilly's Auto Parts

With a dirty filter on your air conditioning intake, your car's system will not work as effectively.

With a clean filter, more air can get to the cooling coils and, in turn, the cooler your car's interior will be.


If you are like me and drive an older vehicle, it's not uncommon for your air conditioner's freon system to leak a bit.

A slow leak might not be noticed for a while, but when those hot days come, you'll be sweating to find a fix.

Your mechanic or auto air person will have the tools necessary to check the level of refrigerant in your system.

You can also DIY: auto parts stores have cans of refrigerant that you can use to recharge your system. I bought a can earlier this week, and it cost me around $60.

via Oreilly Auto Parts
via Oreilly Auto Parts

The instructions on the product are clear, and there are plenty of DIY videos on the internet if you have any questions.


This one is a no-brainer, but I have to say it. When you park in direct sunlight, the interior of your car will be baking by the middle of the day.

Google Maps
Google Maps

Parking in the shade can greatly reduce the amount of heat buildup in your vehicle, especially if you pair it with the next tip.


If you are comfortable with the area in which you are parked, consider leaving your windows open slightly. This will allow at least some air to move through the vehicle, keeping it cooler than it would be if the windows were completely shut.

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