Which is Better: Air Conditioner on or Windows Down in the Summer?

Which is Better Air Conditioner on or Windows Down in the Summer

Staying cool when it gets hot in Paducah can be a tricky task. If summertime driving has you down, don’t sweat — putting the windows down or using the air conditioner are both fine choices for keeping cool. If you’re not sure which is the more efficient option, it helps to know that the answer depends on a few variables.

How fast you’re driving is a big factor in determining whether opening the windows or using AC is better for your fuel economy (and, by extension, your wallet). Fueleconomy.gov recommends rolling the windows down at lower speeds and turning on the air conditioner at higher speeds, though some tests suggest that the difference is negligible or nonexistent.

It’s believed that driving with the windows down at high speeds creates drag, which decreases fuel efficiency as much as running the air conditioning. But, again, there’s no consensus here with Consumer Reports saying that it saw no difference in fuel economy.

Ultimately, your best bet may be to consider that doing either will impact your vehicle’s real-world fuel economy. According to fueleconomy.gov, it can go down as much as 25 percent if you use the AC on short trips. To get the best of efficiency and comfort, it’s recommended that you never use the AC more than needed, never set the temperature lower than you need, and turn the AC when you’re idling.

Another suggestion is to drive with the windows down first before putting on the air conditioner as it will let out the hot air and give your system less work to do. You can also put less strain on your AC by parking in the shade and maintaining the coolant on a regular basis.

The summertime is undoubtedly sweltering in Paducah, so why not match the heat with a red-hot, new-to-you car? Visit Chip Wynn Motors in Paducah, Kentucky, and check out our wide selection of quality used vehicles.

Important Summer Vehicle Maintenance Tips

Tire Pressure

Summer is almost here—and the weather is sure showing it here in Paducah. That means it’s time to get your car road-ready for the warmer weather and potential family road trips. Here are our top summer vehicle maintenance tips:

  • Test your AC…now: Before it gets any hotter, make sure your air conditioner is running properly. If you are having trouble getting consistently cool air, take it into a mechanic before you find yourself caught in the summer heat.
  • Get your oil changed: Routine vehicle maintenance includes changing your oil and getting your tires rotated. If you haven’t done this since the winter, it’s time to get this done. We recommend having a professional mechanic do this—they’ll also inspect your car for any issues.
  • Check your tire pressure: You should be checking your tire pressure every month, but as temperatures heat up, you will want to make sure they are not overinflated. Now is also a good time to switch to summer tires.
  • Inspect the easy stuff: Test your battery, check your headlights, and replace your air filter and windshield wiper blades. These tasks are easy enough to do without the help of a mechanic, but if you are not good with cars, it is better to leave it to the professionals.

If your car isn’t quite roadworthy after these checks, consider coming in to Chip Wynn Motors to find another vehicle to meet your needs.