At the beginning of each cold weather and warm weather season, my wife and I have different opinions on where to set the air-recirculation button in our vehicles.

Depending on whose car it is, I think the owner should be the one who gets to decide the setting, but for some reason, that doesn't seem to work when we are in my vehicle. Go figure.

Anyway, regardless of our opinion, what exactly is the reason for the air-recirculation button in vehicles and what are the best settings? You may know, but you would be surprised at how many drivers are not sure. So, let's dive into that question for the answer.

Driver hand tuning air ventilation grille, fresh air is coming out
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According to the website Eden Tyres, its prime directive (channeling Star Trek here), is to keep the air IN your vehicle circulating. No outside air is let in.

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What good purpose is that? Well, for one thing as Eden Tyres puts it, in air-recirculation mode, this will allow your air-conditioning to cool down the inside of your vehicle quicker, which is a good thing on a hot day.

Also, this helps to prevent pollution and exhaust fumes from entering the idea of your vehicle, helps keep pollen out (high-five from allergy-prone humans), and helps to keep nasty outdoor orders from entering your vehicle (think fresh skunk roadkill... bad!)

Air conditioning in the car. Air circulates from the air vents
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Eden Tyers also notes that using the air-recirculation cycle has benefits like keeping the vehicle's air filter cleaner for a longer period of time, plus helping to reduce fuel consumption and strain on the air-conditioning system.

So, use the air-recirculation function during the warm weather months, and during the cold winter months, turn it off. Why? This will allow outside air through your vehicle's heater core for a nice. warm cabin, and as an added benefit, it helps to de-fog the vehicle's windows quicker and keep it that way during your commute according to Eden Tyers.

image of Car air conditioning
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But of course, there's always a downside to something good, right? Eden Tyers notes that when it's cold outside or you are driving in wet weather when the air-recirculation is in the 'On' mode, your windscreen may mist up, trap in humidity and if you have a carload of humans in the cabin, it may become a bit stuffy.

So I was right. I can't wait to tell my wife "I told you so!" Or maybe that's not a good idea.

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