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AC question ??

4186 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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Wow, I was gonna ask the same question!

I have manual HVAC as well, '09.

I was trying to save gas on the way home yesterday so I could fill up this morning. I turned off the AC after I got it just comfortable enough to drive with the windows up and set it to recirculate. The air stayed cool so I wondered about it when it didn't start to warm as I drove down the freeway. At my exit there is a light that stays red a long time, so I shut the engine off and turned the key back on. That's when I noticed the air warming and getting more humid like normal. When I restarted the engine it switched to outside air without AC, but when I set it to recirculate the AC came back on, and like the OP said the AC light was off.

Is this something that the BCM programming does when it detects elevated temperatures, or just a hinky thing that GM decided on? I'd like to know when I turn off my AC that the AC is off when I do anything else, except for the top 4 clicks of Defog where it automatically runs the AC.
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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!
Beyond what I said above, there's probably saftey issues with running the compressor in recirculate. If fumes got drawn into the car and you hit recirculate, you're not utilizing the cars flow through circulation system where fresh air is drawn in and the fumes are pushed out. As I said, the compressor freshens the air thus reducing the fumes. Without the compressor running, you can be overcome by CO. Also, they don't want to create a situation where the windows would fog very quickly - and they would if the compressor didn't run. This could obstruct your vision.

If you look at it from this perspective, it sounds very logical to run the compressor.
It does seem logical when you want to remove the moisture from people breathing, but not regardng fumes. The AC simply cools the air, it doesn't remove toxic or stinky fumes. Recirc prevents a lot of new stink or toxins from entering the cabin, so that's a plus.

But the idea of them deciding to run the AC on Recirc sounds too much like "Big Brother" breathing down my neck, or "GM Thinks The Average Driver Isn't Smart Enough To Use AC To Defog A Window".

I simply want Recirc to be Recirc. I'm capable of thinking and can determine if/when I need to switch to fresh air or turn on AC. Not arguing with you, Richard, just ranting about GM's move to take options away from me. It didn't use to be this way in the past but it looks like it's here to stay. Drat, and double drat!
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