Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

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knightrider
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Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by knightrider » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:22 pm

After 15+ years of driving a car with manual temperature control, I bought a 2-zone climate controlled car. To be honest, I find the system very annoying to use . It is too complicated for what it is trying to achieve . It operates like a black box so I have no idea what it is really doing.

For example if I get in a cold car, do I set it to MAX temp or just the temp I eventually want it to be, i.e 70F? I also don't like how it turns the AC on as it pleases thereby sapping my power and lowering my gas mileage. Also when I set it to defog the front windshield, it does it with the AC which freezes me. I used to be able to defog with warm air I think...

Am I being old fashioned? Are these features just another example of tech for the sake of tech?
Last edited by knightrider on Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:27 pm

You are not alone. I have had several cars with automatic climate control and absolutely hated the systems. I'd honestly pay more to have the good old twist knobs for where the air goes, cold to hot, fan speed with a separate button for AC. Come to think of it, that's how my current Wrangler is. I know from some of the car forums I am on that many people complain about the auto climate control systems.
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dm200
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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by dm200 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:30 pm

knightrider wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:22 pm
After 15+ years of driving a car with manual temperature control, I bought a 4-zone climate controlled car. To be honest, I find the system very annoying to use . It is too complicated for what it is trying to achieve . It operates like a black box so I have no idea what it is really doing.
For example if I get in a cold car, do I set it to MAX temp or just the temp I eventually want it to be, i.e 70F? I also don't like how it turns the AC on as it pleases thereby sapping my power and lowering my gas mileage. Also when I set it to defog the front windshield, it does it with the AC which freezes me. I used to be able to defog with warm air I think...
Am I being old fashioned? Are these features just another example of tech for the sake of tech?
Never had one - not interested either.

I like the "old fashioned" method: In the heating season, if I am cold - I turn it warmer. If I am hot, I turn the heat lower. If I am just right - L lave it alone. In the warm/hot season - if I am too warm, torn the AC cooler; if I am too cool, turn the AC lower and if just right - leave it alone.

If I am with my wife as a passenger - same idea - but may involve "negotiation" and/or adjusting my and/or her vents differently.

I do notice one thing (1998 Toyota, purchased 2 years ago used from friends) that I thought (at first) was a problem - but figured out intentional. When I have it set to defrost only, the AC light goes on (and cannot be turned off) - but you can adjust the temperature.

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akblizzard
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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by akblizzard » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:32 pm

knightrider wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:22 pm

Am I being old fashioned? Are these features just another example of tech for the sake of tech?
Yes and yes. Both our vehicles have climate control tech, I hate it. I find the cabin temperature is never "perfect" like I could get it with manual controls. The colder it gets outside the more I hate it.

To sum up, I hate it.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by thangngo » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:32 pm

I'm with you. I have a 2012 Camaro that has a manual A/C control, which my wife absolute dislikes it. She drives a 2014 Rouge that has climate control, which I find very annoying. I'm guessing you're out of luck with recent car models because most of them have climate control (?).
Last edited by thangngo on Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Artful Dodger
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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by Artful Dodger » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:33 pm

Every car I've had for the past 20 years has had auto climate control. My last two had separate settings for driver and passenger, which considering the size of the space does seem unnecessary. I just leave it set at 71, and for the most part never touch it. If on some days, that feels too cool, I'll notch up a few degrees. I think if you wanted to back off the air conditioner you could do the same. I've never noticed an issue with the defrost, so can't address that. On days when I get into a cold car, I still leave the temp alone> It will get there as fast as it can. Me putting in a higher degree won't get it there any faster. I do have heated seats, which is great for a quick warm up in the winter.

All in all, it's pretty simple, and actually less hassle than adjusting the temp control over and over. It's basically the same idea as a house thermostat; just set it and leave it alone.
Last edited by Artful Dodger on Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by barnaclebob » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:36 pm

What kind of car is it? Its possible you aren't familiar with how to operate it manually. For example, AC is turned on when defrost is activated so that dehumidified air is blown at the windshield. It shouldn't blow cold once the car is warmed up if you have your temp set high and the defrost on.

My car has an "auto" climate control button which I rarely use mainly because I like pushing buttons and turning knobs. It does seem to work reasonably well once you get the car near to the temperature you prefer.

Personally I hate dual climate control and have only found it necessary when being the designated driver and my passenger needed the window open, didn't want warm air blowing on her and it was cold out. :shock:
Last edited by barnaclebob on Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by neilpilot » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:37 pm

dm200 wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:30 pm

If I am with my wife as a passenger - same idea - but may involve "negotiation" and/or adjusting my and/or her vents differently.

Well in my 2002 C240, the climate control has separate driver & front passenger temperature controls, which I think is typically. That eliminates the "negotiation" you sometimes experience with your manual system.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by saltycaper » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:38 pm

knightrider wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:22 pm
Also when I set it to defog the front windshield, it does it with the AC which freezes me. I used to be able to defog with warm air I think...
If you're just hitting defrost, instead, try manually changing the blower mode to defrost and manually turning up the temperature. Works on my climate controlled system, which I never operate in "full auto" mode and generally dislike.

I opted to get CC in part because buyers reported the system was more powerful than the old-fashioned controls on the base model, even if it was otherwise irritating. It also added rear vents.
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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:38 pm

I use "Auto" mode. My wife never uses "Auto". With "Auto", I typically might have to adjust the temp 1-2 degrees up or down depending on if is really cold or really warm out. My car is a 2001 model.

Different brands of cars are different. Do you get turbo fan mode on Auto? I leave my car set at 71. This is perfect for winter driving. 71 is too cold for summer/AC, so I set it to 73.

Some cars will blast the fan before the car has warmed or cooled. That can be annoying. Our two cars do not do that. The fan is virtually silent until the car gets up to temp and then you will hear the fan speed increase some. Never full blast.

I drove my father-in-laws car the other day. He always has his set to defrost only. Nothing on the floor. He is shorter, but the defrost fan was hitting me right in the eyes and my feet were cold. I hit "Auto" and he said he never uses that.

So probably just personal taste combined with the type/brand of car and how the climate control works.
Last edited by bloom2708 on Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Wakefield1
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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by Wakefield1 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:40 pm

I guess someone here has had the broken blend door (or its axle) issue with certain automatic temperature zone control systems such as on Jeep Grand Cherokee
My vote: Useless and Trouble vs. a blend door that you control manually

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by MathWizard » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:42 pm

Useful.

I've had one since 2002. Separate zones for driver and passenger, which is nice when the sun is warming the driver or passenger,
so the control can be lowered for that side of the car.

I basically leave the controls withing a few degrees of 70.

I like a thermostat in my house, having one in the car makes sense to me.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by Ninnie » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:42 pm

This is one of the reasons I'm keeping my older car for as long as possible. We have auto control on our newer car and I hate it.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by Teague » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:43 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:36 pm
What kind of car is it? Its possible you aren't familiar with how to operate it manually. For example, AC is turned on when defrost is activated so that dehumidified air is blown at the windshield. It shouldn't blow cold once the car is warmed up if you have your temp set high and the defrost on.

My car has an auto button which I rarely use mainly because I like pushing buttons and turning knobs.
I hate the darned things, give me a good old 3-dial control any day. Vent selector, temperature, and fan speed.

Similar to professional cameras vs. consumer cameras. In the consumer camera many important functions (aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc.) are buried deep inside menus. In the professional camera these are readily available by a manual dial or knob.

The reason is the manual control versions are more expensive to make, but work better when it counts, when you are busy with a lot of things going on. The glitzy automated stuff sells better, though.
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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by JohnFiscal » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:46 pm

I actually like the system on my 2011 Volvo. It can go on "full auto" with different temps for the driver and passenger. There are four buttons that have the shape of a sitting human so you can direct the air flow to only the selected points. The human figure is used in other makes too, but pretty cool. It has a variable speed blower, and the AC can be turned on or off manually. I rarely fiddle with any of these controls (other than fan speed).

I rarely will re-set the temperature settings. The occasions that I do so (temporarily) is when the outside air temperature is near the interior setting in which case the is not much air flow produced. Then I may manually increase the fan speed to get more fresh air blowing or I might change the temperature setting a degree or two.

I grew up in the frigid north but I live in the south now, so I don't use the defrost setting to melt an inch of ice on the windshield. But for removing the "fogging" condensation on the interior of the car the cool air works better than warm. I assume if there was an ice build-up outside then I could make the flow warmer.

Still, as people say, it is one more item to possibly lead to an expensive breakdown. I'm just glad mine isn't built by KitchenAid.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by flamesabers » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:51 pm

knightrider wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:22 pm
Am I being old fashioned? Are these features just another example of tech for the sake of tech?
I don't think you're being old-fashioned. To me, old-fashion would be vehicles that didn't have a/c and heating functions, manual controls or otherwise. :P

I think it's just another example of tech for the sake of tech. As far as wanting improvements with driving a car, automatic climate control wouldn't even be on my list.
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:27 pm
I have had several cars with automatic climate control and absolutely hated the systems. I'd honestly pay more to have the good old twist knobs for where the air goes, cold to hot, fan speed with a separate button for AC.
I've never had (or even been in) a car with automatic climate control, but I'm perfectly happy with the traditional system of knobs, buttons, switches, etc. for climate control. It's not just a matter of preferring what I'm familiar with, I would dread how much extra it costs to repair an automatic climate control setup.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:51 pm

I find the climate control itself extremely useful. I find the separate zone control annoying and useless.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by El Greco » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:07 pm

Some systems are better than others. In my Subarus the programming was terrible, and it was always either too hot or too cold and I always had to fiddle with it. In my Mazda it really works very well. I set the temp for 70, and I never have to fiddle with anything. The only buttons I have to press are rear defrost and occasionally front defrost. Actually, in my car, rear defrost automatically comes on for a cycle when the car is remote started and the outside temp is below 50 degrees. I love it.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by lazydavid » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:12 pm

knightrider wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:22 pm
For example if I get in a cold car, do I set it to MAX temp or just the temp I eventually want it to be, i.e 70F?
Yes set it to the desired temp, and let it take care of it for you. It boggles the mind how even people who work at the dealer--and should therefore know better--set the controls to HI/MAX when starting a cold car for a customer, when it makes zero difference. And yes, I've tested it. If you set it at 70F and the actual temp is drastically different, it should work very hard until it gets close, and then throttle down. Much in the same way you'd tweak the manual controls if you were doing it yourself.

My DDs for the past 20 years have both had automatic climate control--single-zone in the first one, dual-zone in the current one--and couldn't possibly be happier. Dual-zone is locked in single-zone mode unless my wife is in the passenger seat. Her presence/absence aside, there are only two occasions that I ever have to touch controls other than the defroster:

--In the winter, I turn the set temp down two degrees, to keep comfortable in heavier clothes/jacket. In the summer, I turn it back up, again to account for thinner clothing.
--When I drive with the windows/sunroof open, I turn the system off, and then back on again when I close them.

That's it. For me, vehicle interior temperature is a problem I solved two decades ago, and hopefully never have to think about again. I would NEVER go back to manual controls.
knightrider wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:22 pm
Also when I set it to defog the front windshield, it does it with the AC which freezes me. I used to be able to defog with warm air I think...
A/C does not have to be synonymous with cold. But this is the correct behavior--the A/C dehumidifies the air. There is no point in blowing warm, humid air on the windshield in hopes of making it clear. Excluding those with mechanical toggles for the A/C compressor (like some cars from the 1980s), every car I've driven even with manual controls automatically engages the AC when you turn on the front defroster. This is by design. Most of them also turn it back off when you disengage the defroster, but I've seen a few that don't.

However, if you're engaging the defroster immediately after starting a cold car, you may be experiencing cold air more because the heater core isn't up to temp. True, the A/C does make this worse--as does the fan automatically going to hyperspeed--but the core of the problem is that the heat is not fully functional yet. If the car is up to temp, you should not be frozen out by the defroster.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by KyleAAA » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:34 pm

I find it useful. It works just like a home thermostat.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by jucor » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:38 pm

I like the auto. I also like the thermostat in my house which regulates fan speed, etc. The car works the same way. I'm wondering what those who hate a thermostatically controlled system in their car use in their homes... :)

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by onthecusp » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:40 pm

Don't even get me started about the lack of true "vent" windows on cars these days!
And get off the grass!! :sharebeer

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by TheTimeLord » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:55 pm

Stunned by many of the replies. I remember well over a decade ago I first had this in a car. The day start out hot but cool in the evening. As we were riding along it suddenly hit me it had switched from AC to Heat with ever skipping a beat and I had been comfortable all day. Became a must have from that day forward. Wife was thrilled to get the feature in her new car and LOVE IT! Befuddled how someone would not want this or any potential downside.

Also, thanks to the "Get off my lawn" crowd for making me feel young at least for a little while.
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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by Katietsu » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:56 pm

Useful. Set it at 70. Rarely need to to touch it.

Just turn off the Auto feature if you truly do not like it.

Very quickly got used to memory seats, automatic head lights, climate control, adaptive cruise control etc. Am disappointed in the lane keeping assist. I was hoping to get a bit closer to a self driving no thinking car experience.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by lazydavid » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:56 pm

onthecusp wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:40 pm
Don't even get me started about the lack of true "vent" windows on cars these days!
Lol, I had completely forgotten about those! Also known as the "we don't know how to make a non-rectangular window that goes up and down, so here's this triangular thing with a bizarre latching mechanism that will whistle and leak water even when it's closed" window. :mrgreen:

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by delamer » Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:58 pm

jucor wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:38 pm
I like the auto. I also like the thermostat in my house which regulates fan speed, etc. The car works the same way. I'm wondering what those who hate a thermostatically controlled system in their car use in their homes... :)
Agreed. If you aren't comfortable in the car then it may be that the vents' directions and flows need to be adjusted, rather than the temperature.

My guess is that picking a temperature and leaving the setting alone is your best option, mileage-wise.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:04 pm

knightrider wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:22 pm
After 15+ years of driving a car with manual temperature control, I bought a 2-zone climate controlled car. To be honest, I find the system very annoying to use . It is too complicated for what it is trying to achieve . It operates like a black box so I have no idea what it is really doing.

For example if I get in a cold car, do I set it to MAX temp or just the temp I eventually want it to be, i.e 70F? I also don't like how it turns the AC on as it pleases thereby sapping my power and lowering my gas mileage. Also when I set it to defog the front windshield, it does it with the AC which freezes me. I used to be able to defog with warm air I think...

Am I being old fashioned? Are these features just another example of tech for the sake of tech?

What model car do you have?

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by jabberwockOG » Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:14 pm

Auto HVAC systems in Lexus brand cars that we have owned is extremely good and very unobtrusive. I just set it and forget it most of the time. I would hate to go back to old style manual HVAC systems.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:21 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:56 pm
onthecusp wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:40 pm
Don't even get me started about the lack of true "vent" windows on cars these days!
Lol, I had completely forgotten about those! Also known as the "we don't know how to make a non-rectangular window that goes up and down, so here's this triangular thing with a bizarre latching mechanism that will whistle and leak water even when it's closed" window. :mrgreen:
AKA "wind wings" where I grew up. Very useful in my first few cars which had no A/C. After that, they were only useful for getting rid of my friends' cigarette smoke. These days I don't need them or miss them.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by Easy Rhino » Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:35 pm

My old 2000 Audi had auto climate control that worked great. usually set it and forget it.

My 2016 Spark EV also does, but it's not tested well because my knee keeps bumping the temperature nob and it's usually rolling in around 60 degrees. Please the heat and A/C is more anemic than in a normal car.

My wife's 2016 Subaru has auto climate control with too many options. but the fundamental thermostat works well.

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Climate controlled cars - Useful

Post by FraggleRock » Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:55 pm

2000 VW Passat - climate control - worked perfectly
2007 Audi A3 - climate control still works perfectly

By perfectly, I mean we set it and never touch it.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:56 pm

TheTimeLord wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:55 pm
Stunned by many of the replies. I remember well over a decade ago I first had this in a car. The day start out hot but cool in the evening. As we were riding along it suddenly hit me it had switched from AC to Heat with ever skipping a beat and I had been comfortable all day. Became a must have from that day forward. Wife was thrilled to get the feature in her new car and LOVE IT! Befuddled how someone would not want this or any potential downside.

Also, thanks to the "Get off my lawn" crowd for making me feel young at least for a little while.
I sometimes set the temp up or down a degree. Other then that, it works. Works well. As far as asking whether you should set it to MAX HOT or MAX COLD or the desired temperature; sheesh, do you people have thermostats at home?

My one issue is in one of our Volvos, the damper door sounds like a distant dog barking, and it took me a while to figure out that we didn’t have a new dog in the neighborhood. Dealer told me they get that complaint often :oops:

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by Chip » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:00 pm

I don't completely hate the Honda auto system that I have, but the ergonomics are lousy. Sometimes I know better than the system what settings I want. For example, on a cold, dry day with a defog need I'd rather not run the A/C compressor with the system set to recirc (Honda default if defrost is selected). I'd rather the compressor were off with outside air coming in, which will be dry enough for defogging purposes. This is achievable, but the Honda has 10 identically shaped buttons for the different HVAC functions. Plus two other buttons to raise/lower the temp setpoint. I almost always have to take my eyes off the road in order to hit the right buttons or see what pressing them did. Which stinks.

Contrast this with my other vehicle with manual controls. Slide top lever all the way to the right for defrost. Turn fan knob clockwise to the stop for high. Push in fan knob and release to disengage compressor. Slide bottom lever to middle or farther right to get the right temp level. All done without taking eyes off the road.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by dbr » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:28 pm

I don't understand. The "auto" system works fine for me.

My criterion is being able to punch whatever buttons are to be punched or knobs to be turned while wearing gloves and not having to put on my reading glasses to see what is on the dashboard. Those criteria have been met in whatever I have driven in the last twenty years but not in my wife's car that has small knobs and an LCD display way down in the car where no one can read it.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by Toons » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:31 pm

Sell the car.
Get what you want.
Don't Worry
Be Happy.
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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by onthecusp » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:42 pm

Doom&Gloom wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:21 pm
lazydavid wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:56 pm
onthecusp wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:40 pm
Don't even get me started about the lack of true "vent" windows on cars these days!
Lol, I had completely forgotten about those! Also known as the "we don't know how to make a non-rectangular window that goes up and down, so here's this triangular thing with a bizarre latching mechanism that will whistle and leak water even when it's closed" window. :mrgreen:
AKA "wind wings" where I grew up. Very useful in my first few cars which had no A/C. After that, they were only useful for getting rid of my friends' cigarette smoke. These days I don't need them or miss them.
Ha, yes they are an obsolete design these days. Speaking of inconvenient climate systems I remember my Dad's Volkswagen beetle where the only temperature control was an unlabeled knob on the floor that somehow got warm air from the air cooled engine into the cabin. Not very effective if it was extremely cold outside.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by tim1999 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:41 pm

What I don't like about auto climate control is that in most cars I've driven that have it, when you are warming up the interior of the car in cold weather, once it reaches the set temperate it starts blowing out cool air instead of warm air or just turning the fan off. I find the cool air annoying in that situation. Not an issue with manual control where you can set it to continuously blow out warm air on a low fan setting.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by incowtown » Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:50 pm

I didn't realize how much I liked the auto climate control until I had a rental for two weeks while car shopping that didn't have it. It seemed like I was continually having to adjust something and I hated that.

But I was glad I found that out in a rental; made sure the car I bought had auto. Set it and forget it :happy

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lthenderson
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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by lthenderson » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:35 pm

Two of my three vehicles have climate control in them, one with dual zones and the minivan with three zones. I love setting them and forgetting them. No more constantly messing with nobs to get the perfect temperature. The car achieves the correct temperature within minutes of starting up and stays that way. I almost take it for granted until I drive the two decade old car without and count the number of times I have to adjust the knobs in a short drive across town.

Turning on the A/C while the defrost is on is the quickest way to get rid of moisture on the windows. Once the windows are free, turn the defrost off (mine eventually goes off automatically) and the A/C turns off. The only time it ever feels cold is if the car engine core is cold and that is no different than it is without the A/C on.

I will never buy another vehicle without automatic climate control.

goblue100
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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by goblue100 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:45 pm

I vote useful. There is a learning curve, but I'm pretty happy with mine.
Some people are immune to good advice. - Saul Goodman

Doom&Gloom
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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:14 pm

goblue100 wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:45 pm
I vote useful. There is a learning curve, but I'm pretty happy with mine.
Yep. The learning curve is set it and forget it. Almost all of the time.
onthecusp wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:42 pm
Doom&Gloom wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:21 pm
lazydavid wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:56 pm
onthecusp wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:40 pm
Don't even get me started about the lack of true "vent" windows on cars these days!
Lol, I had completely forgotten about those! Also known as the "we don't know how to make a non-rectangular window that goes up and down, so here's this triangular thing with a bizarre latching mechanism that will whistle and leak water even when it's closed" window. :mrgreen:
AKA "wind wings" where I grew up. Very useful in my first few cars which had no A/C. After that, they were only useful for getting rid of my friends' cigarette smoke. These days I don't need them or miss them.
Ha, yes they are an obsolete design these days. Speaking of inconvenient climate systems I remember my Dad's Volkswagen beetle where the only temperature control was an unlabeled knob on the floor that somehow got warm air from the air cooled engine into the cabin. Not very effective if it was extremely cold outside.
When I was a teenager a friend of mine drove his parent's bug which had that same heater control. I had forgotten about it; thanks for the memory.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by The Wizard » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:30 pm

My 2016 F-150 has auto climate control and I love it.
You need the automatic digital system for optimal warmup or cooldown using remote start. I only do remote warmup in winter and infrequently, but it's nice.

The heated and cooled seats and the heated steering wheel are part of the remote start feature but once you are driving they are manually controlled.

When my GF is in the passenger seat, she will often adjust the dual zone temperature to be different from mine and it seems to work.

I find I adjust the temperature setting for a/c depending on how sunny it is. I get warmer when the sun is on my arms...
Attempted new signature...

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iceport
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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by iceport » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:48 pm

knightrider wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:22 pm
After 15+ years of driving a car with manual temperature control, I bought a 2-zone climate controlled car. To be honest, I find the system very annoying to use . It is too complicated for what it is trying to achieve . It operates like a black box so I have no idea what it is really doing.

For example if I get in a cold car, do I set it to MAX temp or just the temp I eventually want it to be, i.e 70F?
Just set the thermostat where the temperature feels comfortable, after the engine is up to temperature and the cabin temperature has stabilized. Then, if the climate control works in that car, it should do a great job of holding the set temperature. Any decent system should do things like keep the fan at a low setting in the winter until the heater is warm, and maximizing the cooling settings until a hot cabin is tolerable again in the summer.
knightrider wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:22 pm
I also don't like how it turns the AC on as it pleases thereby sapping my power and lowering my gas mileage. Also when I set it to defog the front windshield, it does it with the AC which freezes me. I used to be able to defog with warm air I think...
My understanding is that car manufacturers automate the activation of the A/C compressor with some vent combinations and climate modes to make sure the A/C unit operates fairly regularly. That way, the compressor parts stay lubricated and are less likely to wear out prematurely.

Honestly, I don't like that feature either. So I tend to avoid the windshield defroster setting, and have found that the combination floor/defroster setting usually does a fine job of defrosting the windshield.

Also, if you check your owner's manual, there might be a way to prevent the automatic operation of the A/C unit. It's worth a look. But then you just have to remember to run the A/C for a few minutes on your own once in a while, even when you don't need it.
knightrider wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:22 pm
Am I being old fashioned? Are these features just another example of tech for the sake of tech?
A well-designed and properly functioning climate control system is a welcome luxury. I owned a 1993 Saab with climate control, and even way back then the technology was fantastic. I could go days without ever having touch the climate controls. And when I did make an adjustment, it would be minor. It was literally one less thing to think about when driving a car. Very cool. 8-)

On the other hand, the climate control in a high-end 2001 Subaru Outback H6 was horrendous. You could never get the temperature to stabilize and it was always either blowing hot or cold. I'm not sure if it was a design flaw, a bad sensor, or something else.

But the bottom line, assuming a properly functioning system, is that you're being a little old-fashioned.
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

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iceport
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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by iceport » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:53 pm

onthecusp wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:42 pm
Doom&Gloom wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:21 pm
lazydavid wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:56 pm
onthecusp wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:40 pm
Don't even get me started about the lack of true "vent" windows on cars these days!
Lol, I had completely forgotten about those! Also known as the "we don't know how to make a non-rectangular window that goes up and down, so here's this triangular thing with a bizarre latching mechanism that will whistle and leak water even when it's closed" window. :mrgreen:
AKA "wind wings" where I grew up. Very useful in my first few cars which had no A/C. After that, they were only useful for getting rid of my friends' cigarette smoke. These days I don't need them or miss them.
Ha, yes they are an obsolete design these days.
Hey, I still lament the loss of the side vent windows. They usually cross my mind once every few years, and I was thinking, just last week, how nice it would be to have one again.

Same thing with the old floor vents. Gone are the days when your could push a lever near the wheel well and get fresh air blasting into the floor area. :(
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

Doom&Gloom
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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:00 pm

iceport wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:53 pm
onthecusp wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:42 pm
Doom&Gloom wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:21 pm
lazydavid wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:56 pm
onthecusp wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:40 pm
Don't even get me started about the lack of true "vent" windows on cars these days!
Lol, I had completely forgotten about those! Also known as the "we don't know how to make a non-rectangular window that goes up and down, so here's this triangular thing with a bizarre latching mechanism that will whistle and leak water even when it's closed" window. :mrgreen:
AKA "wind wings" where I grew up. Very useful in my first few cars which had no A/C. After that, they were only useful for getting rid of my friends' cigarette smoke. These days I don't need them or miss them.
Ha, yes they are an obsolete design these days.
Hey, I still lament the loss of the side vent windows. They usually cross my mind once every few years, and I was thinking, just last week, how nice it would be to have one again.

Same thing with the old floor vents. Gone are the days when your could push a lever near the wheel well and get fresh air blasting into the floor area. :(
You can still achieve that with the proper combination of settings manually--at least with our vehicles. But there are so many more (and better) options these days that it is rarely necessary. But in the good ol' days it sure was a nice contrast and relief--except in the winter when that floor vent would not close completely.

I loved the floor vents and window vents when I had those but no air conditioning. However, I wouldn't go back to them today if offered the chance.

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by munemaker » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:34 pm

knightrider wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:22 pm
After 15+ years of driving a car with manual temperature control, I bought a 2-zone climate controlled car. To be honest, I find the system very annoying to use . It is too complicated for what it is trying to achieve . It operates like a black box so I have no idea what it is really doing.

For example if I get in a cold car, do I set it to MAX temp or just the temp I eventually want it to be, i.e 70F? I also don't like how it turns the AC on as it pleases thereby sapping my power and lowering my gas mileage. Also when I set it to defog the front windshield, it does it with the AC which freezes me. I used to be able to defog with warm air I think...

Am I being old fashioned? Are these features just another example of tech for the sake of tech?
You are overthinking the system. Set the system to automatic, and the temperature to what you like (70 degrees F) and forget about it. It is not going to affect your gas mileage in any meaningful way. You don't really need to worry about what it is doing.

iamlucky13
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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by iamlucky13 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:46 pm

Among the numerous cars I've owned, borrowed, rented, or otherwise driven over the years, none of those with automated climate control have been even remotely satisfactory. Comfort is not a specific number, and none of them appropriately handle functions like defrosting or dehumidifying - they really just complicate that process.

So given how simple the basic process is compared to the technological capabilities at our disposal today, I for one (NB - personal opinion, not absolute fact) consider it just about proven that the best climate control system possible for cars is your standard 3 dials (hot/cold mix, fan speed, vent usage) and 3 buttons (A/C, recirculation, defrost).

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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by ssquared87 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:34 pm

Growing up all of my parents cars had auto climate control, except for 1. All 3 of my cars, model years ranging from 1998 to 2017 have auto climate control.

They all worked fine. The cars with auto I just select the temp I like and forget it. The car that had manual controls I adjusted to my liking and that worked fine too.

Really all you need to do is press 'Auto' and select a temperature. Newer cars are designed with efficiency in mind and will turn off the A/C when its not needed so I wouldn't be concerned about that. Enjoy your new car, don't overcomplicate things. If it's not holding your desired temperature or properly defogging the window, then perhaps its a defective system or its just purely designed.
Last edited by ssquared87 on Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

iamlucky13
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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by iamlucky13 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:34 pm

munemaker wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:34 pm
knightrider wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:22 pm
After 15+ years of driving a car with manual temperature control, I bought a 2-zone climate controlled car. To be honest, I find the system very annoying to use . It is too complicated for what it is trying to achieve . It operates like a black box so I have no idea what it is really doing.

For example if I get in a cold car, do I set it to MAX temp or just the temp I eventually want it to be, i.e 70F? I also don't like how it turns the AC on as it pleases thereby sapping my power and lowering my gas mileage. Also when I set it to defog the front windshield, it does it with the AC which freezes me. I used to be able to defog with warm air I think...

Am I being old fashioned? Are these features just another example of tech for the sake of tech?
You are overthinking the system. Set the system to automatic, and the temperature to what you like (70 degrees F) and forget about it. It is not going to affect your gas mileage in any meaningful way. You don't really need to worry about what it is doing.
Forced use of AC to defog, or more importantly, to defrost, also really annoys me. One of our cars forces the AC to be on anytime the window vents are active, the other allows it to be turned off. AC does significantly help with defogging in really humid conditions, but it's not always necessary or desired.

I do agree to just set the temperature where you want it (trying to understand the ins and outs of PID control logic is taking operating your climate control system too far), but turn off the AC when it's not needed. AC actually does affect your mileage appreciably. The precise amount varies by vehicle, how it's being driven, and weather conditions, but 0.2 gallons of additional fuel per hour or 5-10% are reasonable ballpark estimates. Source:
http://info.ornl.gov/sites/publications ... b68201.pdf

So if for half of your driving, it's not actually warm or humid enough to need the AC for comfort, then over 100,000 miles, you're spending about $500 extra on fuel that is providing no benefit to you, and merely takes a button press to remedy.

For folks interested in a different perspective, for the US, it would mean about 250,000 barrels of extra fuel burned per day, or a little over half of the capacity of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.

ssquared87
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Re: Climate controlled cars - Useful or Useless?

Post by ssquared87 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:39 pm

iamlucky13 wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:34 pm
munemaker wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:34 pm
knightrider wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:22 pm
After 15+ years of driving a car with manual temperature control, I bought a 2-zone climate controlled car. To be honest, I find the system very annoying to use . It is too complicated for what it is trying to achieve . It operates like a black box so I have no idea what it is really doing.

For example if I get in a cold car, do I set it to MAX temp or just the temp I eventually want it to be, i.e 70F? I also don't like how it turns the AC on as it pleases thereby sapping my power and lowering my gas mileage. Also when I set it to defog the front windshield, it does it with the AC which freezes me. I used to be able to defog with warm air I think...

Am I being old fashioned? Are these features just another example of tech for the sake of tech?
You are overthinking the system. Set the system to automatic, and the temperature to what you like (70 degrees F) and forget about it. It is not going to affect your gas mileage in any meaningful way. You don't really need to worry about what it is doing.
Forced use of AC to defog, or more importantly, to defrost, also really annoys me. One of our cars forces the AC to be on anytime the window vents are active, the other allows it to be turned off. AC does significantly help with defogging in really humid conditions, but it's not always necessary or desired.

I do agree to just set the temperature where you want it (trying to understand the ins and outs of PID control logic is taking operating your climate control system too far), but turn off the AC when it's not needed. AC actually does affect your mileage appreciably. The precise amount varies by vehicle, how it's being driven, and weather conditions, but 0.2 gallons of additional fuel per hour or 5-10% are reasonable ballpark estimates. Source:
http://info.ornl.gov/sites/publications ... b68201.pdf

So if for half of your driving, it's not actually warm or humid enough to need the AC for comfort, then over 100,000 miles, you're spending about $500 extra on fuel that is providing no benefit to you, and merely takes a button press to remedy.

For folks interested in a different perspective, for the US, it would mean about 250,000 barrels of extra fuel burned per day, or a little over half of the capacity of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.
I know my car will automatically cycle the compressor on and off when I have it set to auto. The A/C light will always remain on, but I can feel/hear the compressor initiate. My 2011 328 and 2017 530 cycle the compressor depending on when its needed if it's in auto. Older cars may not do this though, my 98 M3 leaves the A/C compressor on all the time in auto mode unless I manually turn it off

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