Informational Guide

7 Ways To Make A Car AC Work Better & Run Colder

Learn the top 7 ways to make your car AC work better and run colder for those hot summer months.

by Josh M

Nothing is worse than getting into your car on a hot summer day to find out the AC isn’t blowing cold air. Your frustration leads you to search online, looking for how to make AC colder in a car. Thankfully, we have the steps you need. Our guide covers how to make car AC super cold for a more enjoyable ride.

1. Avoid Turning The AC On While Still Parked

Why isn’t my AC cold in my car? If you just started the car, you might not have given it enough time. The air conditioning system works much better once you are driving, so it’s best to wait until then to get it started. Using it while the car is parked doesn’t do much good and just wastes precious fuel.

Related ArticleHow Does a Car AC Work?

2. Park In The Shade

When you park in direct sunlight, you increase the cabin temperature of the car significantly. According to the National Weather Service, your car’s dashboard can exceed 200 degrees Fahrenheit when in the direct sunlight. Those temperatures mean the air conditioning system has to work much harder to do its job. To make the car AC cooler, keep your car parked in the shade whenever possible.

3. Replace The Cabin Air Filter

Your car’s cabin air filter is responsible for removing dirt, pollutants, pollen, and dust from the interior space. If the filter becomes dirty or clogged, its capacity is reduced. It can also start to blow airflow to the vent, causing it to feel warmer inside. Will changing the cabin air filter make the AC colder? It will if it is blocked. To avoid this, change the filter at the regular maintenance intervals suggested by the car manufacturer.

4. Avoid Switching To Max A/C Right Away

The AC takes a while to get cold in a car when it is first turned on. If you get in and turn it to MAX COOL immediately, you aren’t going to get the results you are looking for. Instead, wait until the system pulls in more air for maximum effectiveness. Additionally, remember how hot the cabin can be when you first get in, causing the air conditioning to work harder.

5. Avoid Giving Your Car AC Mixed Signal

If you want to know how to make your AC colder in a car, keep the dial at the max cold temperature. Otherwise, the system gets a mixed signal, cooling down the cabin and then letting it heat back up again. If you don’t want it that cold inside, turn down the fan setting instead, not the temperature.

6. Supercharge your A/C System

What makes AC cold in a car? The refrigerant is what cools the vehicle, along with the vital parts that make up the system. However, this refrigerant can leak, causing the air to feel warmer than it should be. You can recharge the refrigerant at home if you have the right equipment. Otherwise, you want to take it to the shop for AC service.

7. Turn-Off Recirculation Mode

Your car’s AC system allows you to choose the recirculation mode to save fuel. However, this doesn’t provide the coldest air possible. With this setting, cold air gets pumped into the cabin, but then it is sucked back in to be used again. What happens is the back seat passengers might never feel the cold air before the system pulls it back. Instead, use the fresh air setting for maximum coolness.

Common Reasons Why The Car AC Is Not Getting Colder

If you’ve tried the above steps and you are still noting that the AC doesn’t get cool, there could be a more significant problem. The most obvious issue has to do with the refrigerant. If there are leaks, it becomes impossible for the system to cool. Depending on how bad the leak is, you could notice a decrease immediately or over time.

Aside from a leak, there could also be an internal failure with one of the AC components. Many parts must work together to ensure proper cooling. If there’s a defect, you might need to visit a specialist to have it diagnosed or repaired.

Related ArticleBest Portable ACs For A Car

Car AC Not Getting Colder

Car AC Additives – How Do They Work?

What is an additive to make the car AC colder? Many people call the additive Freon, but that is a brand name for the refrigerants. The refrigerant is a coolant needed to reduce the air temperature. There are two main types of refrigerants used in cars, R12 and R134a. R12 is the older variety and is no longer available to purchase.

You can purchase refrigerants online and in most auto parts stores. If you have a gauge and the skills to recharge the system, it’s easy to do at home. Otherwise, you want to take your vehicle to a professional shop for help.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

We’ve answered a few of the most asked questions regarding car AC cooling.

Do cars naturally lose refrigerant?

Car refrigerant runs through a sealed system, so it shouldn’t leak out naturally. However, many systems have small leaks over time that allow the refrigerant to escape on a smaller scale.

How do I know if my car AC needs Freon?

The most obvious sign is when the air coming from the vents starts to get warm. You might notice this problem getting worse over time or it can happen all at once.

How often should you replace Freon in car AC?

Unless there is a leak in the system, you shouldn’t need to add Freon. It’s recommended to have the air conditioning system checked every couple of years to look for leaks.

How much does it cost to recharge car AC?

If you take your vehicle to a shop, you might spend $75 to $200. However, if you can recharge the AC yourself, you are only paying the amount of the refrigerant.


Now that you know how to make car AC cold again, you don’t need to sweat it out. Take charge of your in-cabin comfort and ensure that your passengers have a pleasant ride with you.

Related ArticleHow To Clean A Car AC

Last Updated on July 5, 2022

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.