Did you know that some cars can lower all their windows at once to help cool the cabin on a hot day? That mass-ventilation trick is one of many obscure features that car owners, especially those who drive luxury cars, may not even know they have.
If you’ve ever left your car parked in the sun for any length of time you know that jumping in can be like stumbling into Death Valley in August. Literally. In a closed car the cabin temperature can easily exceed 130 degrees F. (Read: “Stopping Child Deaths in Hot Cars.”)
But some cars with remote keyless entry can lower all the windows and even open the sunroof before you get in. How it typically works is that when you come close enough to the car that the remote-unlock is in range, you hit the key fob’s unlock button twice and hold it. Then all the windows crank down, and the sunroof, if you have one, retracts. While it won’t truly cool the car, it can begin purging the sweltering air before you enter your mobile sauna.
The remote window-lowering feature is common on most current cars from Acura, Audi, BMW, Ford, Honda, Infiniti, Lincoln, Nissan, Mini, and the Cadillac CTS. On Fords and Lincolns, the feature can both raise and lower the windows from a distance.
Most Audis and Volkswagens can also open their windows en masse, but on some models you have to actually insert the key in the door lock, then twist twice and hold it.
Other models may have remote window-lowering, but the default setting at delivery is set for off. If so, a trip to the dealer may be necessary to activate it. The feature is known in the business as “Global-Open Windows.” When in doubt, refer to your owner’s manual. You may find your car has this cool feature.
Copyright © 2005-2014 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission. Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on this site.