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how to cool your car in summer

How to Cool Your Car in Summer: Windows Down vs. A/C

During summer, drivers are always searching for the best ways to cool down their cars, whether you are rolling the windows down or cranking up the air conditioning. However, one of these methods uses significantly more fuel than the other. Read on to see how to cool your car in summer.

Rolling the windows down is usually how people cool their car when they first get in it. According to Slate, however, having your windows down can increase drag and lower fuel economy. Drag is created when airflow is restricted, allowing for more friction, therefore slowing your car. Thanks to a 2008 study performed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), it was revealed that around 68 miles per hour—roughly highway speeds—having the windows down is actually less efficient than using the air conditioning.

The air conditioning saps power from the engine because it operates by drawing power from the powertrain. Generally, having the air conditioning on reduces gas mileage by about 10 to 20 percent; nevertheless, at highway speeds, you may actually lose more efficiency by rolling the windows down.

What’s the answer? At low speeds, especially in the city, try and roll your windows down to get cool in the summer. When you hit the highway, switch on the air conditioner and roll up the windows. The SAE study is especially true for SUVs and crossovers, which tend to have more surface area. On small, aerodynamically designed models, though, your results may be slightly different.