Here's What The Air Recirculation Button In Your Car Actually Does

Your summer just got a whole lot more comfortable.

Car Air Conditioning
Photo: Tsuji / Getty

You've probably noticed the air recirculation button among the various bells and whistles on your car's dashboard. This little button, situated near the A/C controls, is identified by a car symbol with a U-turn arrow inside. You might even push it from time to time, but do you actually know what it does?

How Does the Air Recirculation Button Work?

The air recirculation function is essential in keeping you cool in the summer months, though few drivers realize it. According to the automotive repair company Eden Tyres & Servicing, the "air recirculation button effectively cuts off the outside air to the inside of the car." It's best to use this feature when it's hot outside, and you have the A/C turned on. It recirculates the slightly cool air that comes out of the A/C when you first turn it on instead of pulling the hot air in from outside. And the longer it's on, the cooler your car gets.

When To Not Use the Air Recirculation Function

This function can be a lifesaver during long, hot summer days. However, you should avoid using the air recirculation function during the winter. As Eden Tyres & Servicing points out, recirculated air in the winter does not stop the cold air from entering your vehicle. The "fresh air" mode moves the cold air through the car's heaters, making the air warmer. This function also lessens the humidity inside the vehicle and will help windows to fog less and stay that way while you drive.

The next time you get into your hot, steamy car this summer, click the old recirculation button and see if it helps cool down your car faster. If it doesn't, you might want to have a mechanic take a look at it.

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