Cool a Hot Car as Quickly as Possible

When your car's been sitting in the sun, using the recirculate setting on the A/C is the last thing you want to do. Cool your car off fast as you can to stay safe and sane on the road in the summertime heat.


  1. Roll down the windows. (you might also want to try to open the windows asynchronously so the air circulates better instead of balancing the pressure on all windows)
  2. Turn on the A/C on the fresh air setting, do not recirculate.
  3. Turn on the fan and make sure the thermostat is on the coldest setting.
  4. Drive for a minute or two with the windows down, to force out the hot air.
  5. Once the air in the car begins to feel cooler than the outside temperature, then switch from fresh air to recirculate.
  6. Roll the windows back up.
  7. Adjust temperature using lower thermostat and fan settings.


  • A moving car cools down faster. Air conditioner works on engine rpm. The outside of the car will also be cooled down by rushing wind.
  • Once the air temperature within the car is cooler than the outside air, then the recirculate setting is useful, because now the A/C is cooling air that has already had some of the heat sucked out of it.
  • Invest in a reflective chrome colored sun shade and use it. This will also protect your interior from sun damage.
  • People like the recirculate setting because it seems to move more air and thus seems more powerful. But if the car has been sitting in the sun, the air it is moving is hotter than the air outside, so it takes the A/C a lot longer to cool.
  • Keep a rag and water in your car. Wet the rag, and wipe it over your shift knob and steering wheel to cool them. You may have to repeat the process once or twice to cool them. The water will evaporate bringing tension heat off as well.
  • While the windows are down (Steps 1-6), adjust the airflow so the air is also blowing down into the foot wells.
  • While parked, keep all the windows rolled down about half an inch (except during rain, snow, etc.).


  • Obviously, if your car doesn't have A/C, you're on your own. However some of these tips can still be used to keep your car cooler overall, and allow you to drive it much quicker.

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