Take a look at your car’s heater controls and it’s likely you’ll spot the two icons pictured below – but did you know pushing the wrong one could leave you temporarily driving blind?
It doesn’t stop there either, because there are times when you should certainly consider changing the selection – it could help keep you and your passengers happy and healthy while out on the roads.
One of the buttons can also help save fuel, so these are certainly not a set of switches to ignore.
What are these two heater controls, then?
These two buttons let you decide whether to use air from outside the vehicle, or recirculate what’s already in the car’s cabin to set the driving environment.
So – which button would you push to keep your car’s windows clear?
In autumn and winter, fogging of your windscreen can be a big problem – especially when combined with low sun, grimy windows and dark evenings.
So, if you’re driving along and the car’s glass starts misting up – the question is, which of them would you push, or would you even consider using them at all?
The answer… So, did you select the ‘recirculated air’ button (that’s the one on the left in our image)? In which case, get ready for those windows to get a severe misting and potentially put you at risk of driving blind.
This is because, when the car starts fogging it means the internal atmosphere contains moisture and recycling it around the car will not be effective when it comes to clearing the condensation.
In this case, choosing to fill the car with fresh air from outside could be the best option – that’s the button on the right.
So, why have the recirculate button?
It’s not all bad – in fact the recirculate button should be your selection of choice as you spot the brake lights illuminating at the back of your favourite rush-hour or holiday route traffic jam.
Sitting in congestion with fumes from hundreds of nearby motors being pumped into your car’s cabin is not conducive to living a long healthy life. Circulating the ‘cleaner’ air already in your car could help cut the toxins invading your lungs – and those of your passengers, too.
And that’s not all when it comes to health matters…
Using the recirculate button can help cut the amount of pollen that enters your vehicle – simultaneously easing the burden on the car’s own filters. So, while the recirculate button isn’t always useful in winter months, it can certainly be our friend in warmer seasons.
Can the recirculate button help save fuel?
Yes. Over a long journey in hot weather, using the recirculate button will mean the air-con system will not have to cool so much new air – meaning it does not have to work so hard or use so much fuel.
Hold on – my car doesn’t have these icons
This is most likely because you have a shiny new model. Many of the latest cars off the production line have sensors to monitor moisture in cabin air and make the switch automatically.