Drivers Warned Not to Press Misunderstood Button this Winter

As temperatures drop during the winter months, drivers often struggle with foggy windshields that can impair their vision and pose a safety hazard. While there are various factors that contribute to this issue, one particular button on the dashboard has been identified as a common culprit.

Understanding the Air-Recirculation Button


The air-recirculation button, typically marked by a car icon with a horizontal ‘U’-shaped arrow, is designed to control the flow of air within your vehicle’s HVAC system. Its primary function is to recirculate the air inside the car instead of drawing in fresh air from the outside. While this button can be beneficial in warm weather when used in conjunction with the air conditioning, it can have adverse effects during colder months.

The Harmful Effects of the Air-Recirculation Button

Contrary to popular belief, pressing the air-recirculation button in cold weather can make your windshield fog up more frequently. Car experts from Eden Tires & Maintenance warn against using this button when temperatures are low. They explain that the default ‘Fresh Air’ mode, which allows air to be pushed outside through the heater, is more effective in preventing foggy windshields. When the air-recirculation button is activated, the increased humidity from recirculated air can lead to a stuffy car cabin and even cause drowsiness in the driver, further compromising safety.

Optimal Usage in Different Weather Conditions

To ensure optimal visibility and prevent your windshield from fogging up, it is essential to understand when to use the air-recirculation button and when to avoid it. During warmer weather, the button can be used in combination with the air conditioning to circulate cool air inside the car. However, in colder temperatures, it is recommended to turn off the air-recirculation button and allow the car to draw fresh air from the outside through the heater core. This method not only warms up the windshield but also helps dehumidify it.

Other Tips to Prevent a Foggy Windshield

In addition to avoiding the use of the air-recirculation button, there are several other measures you can take to prevent your windshield from fogging up:

  1. Use your defrost function: The defrost function directs warm air onto the windshield, helping to clear any condensation or fog. It is advisable to turn on both the front and rear defrost functions for optimal results.
  2. Keep the interior clean: A clean windshield is less likely to fog up. Regularly clean the inside of your windshield with a non-streaking glass cleaner to remove any residue or build-up.
  3. Check for leaks: Ensure that your vehicle’s weatherstripping is in good condition and that there are no leaks around the windshield or windows. Water entering the car can contribute to increased moisture and foggy windows.
  4. Avoid placing wet items in the car: Wet or damp items, such as umbrellas or clothing, can introduce excess moisture into the vehicle, leading to foggy windows. Whenever possible, dry these items before placing them inside the car.


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