Overlooked button on your car may help save on gas

The function of your vehicle’s “air recirculation button”

(KODE) — It’s a button most everyone has at least glanced at on their vehicle’s climate control dashboard, but are you aware of its purpose?

The “air recirculation button” has a couple functions; mainly dealing with the vehicle’s air conditioning system.

On most cars, trucks and SUVs the air recirculation button is easily identifiable, with its representing symbol a half-circle inside of the outline of a vehicle.

Many people say they’re aware of the button, but are not sure when it should be on or off.

The climate control functions on the center dashboard of a 2018 Ford Escape features the air recirculation button.

According to Tabitha Ruhl, manager of Joplin Transmission and Auto Center, pressing this single button on the climate control dashboard of you vehicle will cut off the outside air to the inside of the car, therefor ‘recirculating’ the air inside your vehicle.

This ensures that you’re recirculating air-conditioned air rather than hot air from outside.

Now that summer is fast approaching, Ruhl said the air recirculation button is great for boosting your AC to help the cabin of you vehicle get as cold as possible, quickly.

Another function of this climate control system is to stop pollution and exhaust fumes from entering the vehicle.

Having this button activated will also help to greatly reduce pollen when driving, which is a big positive if you suffer from outdoor allergens.

In the video below, Ruhl summarizes your vehicle’s air recirculation button, including how using it could save you money on gas.

“The button works by helping your car recirculate the cool air from your AC from the moment you turn it on. If you choose not to use the button, your car will have to pull in air from the outside and work twice as hard to cool that air than the already chilled air around you,” said Ruhl.

Because the air recirculation button goes hand-in-hand with a vehicle’s air conditioning system, you’ll likely want to use it when it’s the temperature outside is greater than 75 degrees (Fahrenheit).

VIDEO: A Summary of the Air Recirculation Button and its Functions

“If you don’t switch the air recirculation button on, then your car’s air conditioning will be constantly cooling warm air from outside your vehicle, and will have to work much harder, putting more stress on the blower and air compressor,” said Ruhl.

Another benefit to using the air recirculation feature is the money you could save on gas.

“Cars are usually more fuel-efficient when the air conditioner is set to recirculate interior air. This is because keeping the same air cool takes less energy than continuously cooling hot air from outside,” said Ruhl.

While the recirculation button is great for the summer months, it may be best to avoid it in the winter or when your windows become foggy.

“Anytime you’re using defrost, it’s best to not have that button on. Also, using it while you have your heater on isn’t going to do anything for you vehicle,” said Ruhl.

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