Most modern vehicles come with AC to keep you cool while driving around, yet if you are sitting around or car camping; you may wonder if it is possible to sitting in car with AC on or sleeping in car with AC running is the night is hot.
When your vehicle is parked, the engine runs differently than when driving around, so there are stresses you can face besides wasting gas and money when you sit idling.
In our guide, you can learn more about sitting in car with AC running and its effect on you, your car, and more. By the end, you’ll see there can be risks of sitting in any vehicle running for long periods and what impact it can have on your car. (Read My Brake Pedal Is Stiff And Car Won’t Start)
Is It Bad To Breathe AC In Car?
If you’ve ever wondered, “Can I sleep in my car with the air conditioner on?” Yes, is the quick answer. However, we strongly advise against it for your safety.
While it could be too hot to sleep in your car while camping in the summer, you may think the best option is to sleep in your car with the air conditioner running.
However, this is not always feasible, and there are several crucial factors to consider before proceeding.
Why its wrong to sleep with car running and AC on?
If a car is left running in enclosed areas such as a garage or even on a campsite with no wind, there are chances of carbon monoxide poisoning from the engine fumes.
Carbon monoxide (CO) can make its way into the vehicle cabin via vents and cracks in the bodywork by the car’s engine.
Carbon monoxide has no smell or color, so you can’t tell CO is present. However, burning fuel like gasoline can harm you if you don’t take precautions.
Carbon monoxide could harm you when cars are idling in an enclosed space that doesn’t have sufficient ventilation for long periods.
Most often, CO poisoning is dangerous for people who are sleeping.
Is it safe to sleep in a running car with the air conditioner on?
It is not a good idea to sit in an idle car for long periods. With the windows pulled up, exhaust gases might enter the car.
Nausea, headaches, and confusion are all symptoms of carbon monoxide overdose.
Drivers experiencing the harmful effects of oxidative damage are becoming increasingly rare in newer cars. (Learn How To Fix Visor In Car)
In the USA, cars must have ventilation systems working properly, which can’t be turned off, so outside air is pushed into the cabin to keep hazardous contaminants out.
The car’s air intake is usually at the bottom of the windshield. This eliminates common incidents decades before and may have resulted in carbon monoxide poisoning.
You don’t want to take any chances, though. Keep the windows open, although this reduces the effects of the air conditioning in your vehicle.
Is It Bad To Sit In Your Car With It On?
Here, you can learn more about the engine left running for hours while you sleep with the air conditioner.
Depending on how long the AC runs while you sleep, it will most likely drain the battery.
If you keep your car’s air conditioning on for hours without driving, you risk harming the battery, and on idle, an AC unit can draw more power than an idling engine can produce.
If the engine is left running for a long time without movement, it might overheat and damage the radiator.
When the car is moving, the fans cool this heat, and also, the outside air helps cool the engine of this generated heat from under the hood.
If the car is in an enclosed space, such as a garage, the risk of overheating is higher. You can find some leave the hood open, yet this isn’t safe to do if you are parked in any cities, as it can draw too much attention.
So, if you’re wondering if you can sleep in your car with the air conditioning on, the answer is yes.
However, ensure that your exhaust system has no leaks and the tailpipes are blowing exhaust efficiently away from your vehicle.
Even if the doors are open, do not run the air conditioner in an enclosed garage or porch, as exhaust fumes can kill you as you sleep.
If you must sleep in the car, do so without running on the air conditioning, as this can cause damage to the car, but it can also be fatal due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Instead, get an electric fan you can run through the night without harming your car’s engine or batteries, and keep your windows open to let in the fresh air.
Is Idling Car With AC Bad?
Most people have heard that turning the ignition key wears down an engine; therefore, it’s better to leave your car running if you’re merely stopping, such as in a traffic jam. (Read Car Temperature Gauge Rises Then Falls)
How long can a car idle before potentially damaging your vehicle?
What is “Idling”?
“Idling” is leaving your car running after starting it, where you leave your car’s engine running without moving.
Most people do idle their cars, such as:
- You’re stuck in traffic but know you’ll be moving soon and don’t want to turn off your car.
- You park your car and run into a store without turning it off.
- It’s a cold winter morning, so you warm up your car before heading to work.
What Happens When a Car Idles?
The engine continues to run when your car idles. So, internal combustion uses little fuel. Since your engine is running, other things will continue to operate.
- The battery will drain.
- The air conditioning keeps running.
- The engine gets hotter.
Don’t panic if you’ve heard that idling your car causes it to break down. This is not correct.
How Long Can A Car Idle Before Problems?
Idling your engine isn’t damaging, but you shouldn’t do it excessively. There are limits for how long to leave your car running before you worry.
Remember, idling means your engine runs using little power, and your engine could run forever if you had unlimited fuel.
However, to avoid issues, you should only idle your car for a few minutes before driving or turning off the engine.
Many individuals let it idle for several minutes when stopping and starting their car multiple times.
Example: city traffic jams. Starting and stopping your engine multiple times is harmful, as many believe, is a misconception.
You can start and stop your engine many times when stuck in traffic and only travel a few meters each time.
Modern engines from the 1990s onward use fuel injection to supply fuel and prevent engine oil thinning too much.
Unless you drive a car from the ’80s or earlier, starting and stopping it won’t wear down your engine. (Read What Causes Car Battery Corrosion On Positive Terminal)
What Happens if Car Idles Too Long?
If you leave your car running for an extended period of time, the following bad consequences may occur:
Your car’s engine burns fuel as long as it is running, as previously stated.
When your car idles, though, the engine and alternator both run slowly, drawing power from the battery.
The alternator is capable of charging the battery by itself.
If you’re idling and run the AC full blast or your headlights are on, you risk draining your car’s battery, necessitating a jump start to get back on the road.
Your engine may overheat if you leave your car idling for too long. However, mechanical failures are a common cause of this mistake. A skilled mechanic will have to inspect the cooling system and fan belt if the engine overheats.
Your car may run out of gas. An empty gas tank might catch individuals off guard since they don’t expect their fuel gauge to drop when they’re not driving.
Can I Sleep In My Car With The AC Running?
The short answer is yes, you can sleep in your car with the air conditioning on, but it’s not recommended.
For many of us, a car is more than just traveling from one point to another. It can be a spot to rest on long interstate travels or to take a brief sleep on a hot summer afternoon.
First, make sure you have enough gas or energy to keep the vehicle running for as long as possible.
Why You Shouldn’t Sleep in Your Car with the AC Running
Aside from sleeping in a car is never comfortable, you risk overheating it. Since many radiators are merely used as a backup to the engine’s cooling, over time, they can damage engine components if running for hours.
Also, any exhaust system leak can kill you. You can forget about exhaust fumes if you have an electric car, yet these motors and components can still overheat.
Sleeping in a car with the AC running might cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless and highly deadly gas. Your car may not be removing CO, and your AC may have leaks or be too weak to completely refresh the air to keep carbon monoxide levels at safe levels.
Carbon monoxide impairs the blood’s ability to transfer oxygen to your cells, causing them to die from oxygen deficiency, resulting in brain damage and death.
Can Leaving Your AC Running Damage Your Car Battery and Engine?
- Leaving the AC on in a parking lot will drain the battery.
- Leaving the AC on for too long can kill a fully charged car battery.
- If you leave the AC on too long, the engine components can overheat and be damaged.
Don’t rely on just the AC running to keep you cool while idling for an extended period. You can endanger yourself or others and damage your vehicle’s engine in this instance.