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AC question ??

4179 Views 12 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Richard
In my 2010 Malibu with the air delivery mode control set to Vent, and the recirculation mode set to outside air, and the AC switch set to off the AC unit is off. When you press the recirculation switch to inside air the AC compressor comes on and can not be turned off unless you go back to outside air. Is this normal ? The light next to the AC on switch is not on. My car does not have automatic climate control.
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Correct, and there's a reason for this. If you set the control to recirculate and the compressor didn't run, the air in the car would become stale very quickly and you would get quite a bit of fogging. Without the compressor running, you need to draw in outside fresh air to minimize this. In recirculate, the air can become stale and stuffy even with the compressor running. Without the compressor, it would be magnified much more.

I only use recirculate to avoid outside odors (exhaust fumes from a bus) or to cool the car quickly on a very hot day. You will notice that the air is colder when you run the A/C in recirculate mode. I always switch to outside air soon after.
I do just about the same thing, and by doing this and switching back, you not only prevent the air from getting stale but also prevent the "frostbite" feeling that occurs once the car IS cooler down. It lets you leave the ac at 2 or 3 and have a breeze without freezing to death. 15 minutes earlier, on these hot days, it seems like you'd have given anything to freeze to death and thus the recirculate option at first.

Why does it become stale and stuffy when recirculating less with the compressor though? I don't follow that but did know that it comes on, of course.
I had a '97 Pontiac that didn't do that, and none of my other cars have ever done that, either. I guess I'm just the kind that has a simple mind: Recirc ought to be recirc, not refreeze.

Even though it's called Recirculate it doesn't truly keep outside air from entering. When I have used it on any car I've ever driven I can still smell the stink outside, although it is somewhat diminished.

I was just surprised to find it running the AC when it isn't logical to do so, at least not to me. I wish there was a way to reach in and reprogram those BCMs - I'd do it in a flash!
If theres one thing that's for sure, blend doors are not air tight. If you are going through a truly stinky area then you'll still notice it. I'd say you can figure a 95/5 mix between in and out when recirculating.
I don't know why it requires the compressor though, i never have noticed that either. Defrost ALWAYS has the compressor on, but with recirculate, that setting has been more finnicy on every care I've had. The last one ('03 impala) was less seamless but more practical. You needed to be running the AC outright before pressing the recirc button would cause anything to happen at all IIRC.
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