5 Ways to Make the Car Air Conditioner Feel Colder, Faster
1. Replace the cabin air filter.
The cabin air filter prevents dust, pollen, dirt and other pollutants from entering your car through the A/C and heat vents. If the filter is clogged or dirty, it can also inhibit or even block A/C airflow, meaning the cold air you’re craving will struggle to reach the cabin.
Depending on your vehicle, you may be able to check and replace the filter yourself. Consult your owner’s manual for more information. If you’re not comfortable replacing the filter on your own, don’t sweat it! Head to your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care for a quick filter replacement.
2. Park in the shade whenever possible.
Give your A/C a headstart by preventing heat from building up in your car.
“Cars parked in direct sunlight can reach internal temperatures up to 131-172°F when outside temperatures are 80-100°F,” reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Keep safety and security in mind and don’t leave your windows cracked or half open. Park in a shaded area instead.
In the heat of summer, it’s okay to channel your inner-vulture and circle the parking lot for a bit of envied shade! Or, wait for a covered parking spot under an overhang.
If parking in the shade is not an option, create some! Put up a windshield sun shade to prevent direct sunlight from turning your car into an oven. Sunshades can also help protect your car’s interior from damaging UV rays that cause dashboard discoloration and cracking.
3. Supercharge your A/C system.
Need some seriously chill vibes in your car? Reggae will only get you so far.
Here’s how to make car A/C colder—and fast: reboot your refrigerant. We won’t get into exactly how car air conditioning works, but suffice it to say that low Freon or refrigerant levels will almost always lead to car A/C that doesn’t feel cold enough.
You can check your refrigerant level at home if you have access to an A/C gauge and thermometer, two tools that are available at most auto parts stores. Or, you can bring your car to Firestone Complete Auto Care for an A/C check. If your levels are low, we can give you a quick refrigerant recharge during your visit!
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4. Don’t switch to max A/C right away.
It can be tempting to turn on the A/C and crank it to “max cool” right when you get in the car. But did you know? Blasting the A/C right out of the gate isn’t the best way to make it chilly! When your A/C is set to “max,” the car is actually taking air from inside the car, cooling it, and blowing it back into the cabin.
Here’s the problem with that: when you first get in the car, the air inside is hotter than the air outside. (Remember how the temperature inside your car can climb to almost 200°F?!) You’re forcing your A/C to work harder, and for no reason.
Start by pulling air from outside the vehicle to make things feel cooler, quicker. Leave the A/C button off at first. Turn the fan to its maximum speed and make sure the airflow is set to “outside” mode.
Then, once you’ve forced out some of the humid, hot air that’s accumulated in the car, turn on the A/C and switch to “recirculate” airflow mode. Now you can set the A/C to “max cool.”
5. Avoid giving your car A/C mixed signals.
Once you’ve forced the hot air out of the cabin, how can you keep it cold inside? Crank the temperature dial to its absolute coldest setting.
According to Consumer Reports, keeping the dial somewhere in the middle can make car A/C reheat air slightly, which burns more fuel and makes for a less efficient car A/C system overall. Keep the temperature on the coldest setting, then adjust the fan speed as needed.