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Hello.
I have a 2014 1LT Turbo with air conditioner. Manual air options. I do NOT have the auto climate control.

Today I was just advised that even though I have the air conditioner disabled (the snowflake button OFF), there are some settings where it will automatically use the air conditioner anyway, without lighting up the snowflake light. Therefore I have been running the air conditioner year round without even knowing it.

The usual option that I have is the "Defog" option, which is the dual option of the air blowing on the window, plus your feet. I was advised this will enable my AC, no matter what, and the light indicator will not light up to tell me that. I was told this will also be the case if using the "Defrost" option as well (the windshield only option).

I came on these forums and people seemed to confirm this is true. Some other indicated that the "Floor only" option ALSO engages the A/C without notification. And then others spoke about the possibility of if you have the 'Air recirculation' mode enabled in some situations, that TOO automatically engages the AC. All without the AC light coming on to indicate that the AC is being used.

Obviously, in an effort for better fuel mileage, I want to know when the AC is running and when it's not.

Is there anyone on here, or a guide or something made up, that can explain all the different combinations of vent/floor/defog/defrost/etc, circulation on/off, etc, options and when the AC automatically engages without the driver's consent/knowledge?

Thanks.
 

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Good question, I'm curious myself. On a hot summer day you can pretty easily tell if it's blowing conditioned air just by the temp difference, so if nothing else you could start with that just feeling the vents in different configs. For sure the defrost settings trigger a/c, that's how it works by blowing dry air, not necessarily hot air, on the windows. I've heard if you have the temp select knob on the coldest setting, then triggering A/C will automatically put it in "max a/c" which is auto re-circulate but won't actually light the re-circulate button. Don't quote me on this, I could be wrong. I only really use the head only option in summer, and head/feet and defrost in other times of year.
 

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There are two fuses related to the Air Conditioning system. One is in the cabin, the other is in the engine bay (17 and 62, respectively). Pulling one of those might disable your AC.

I live in a desert, so doing that would be pretty much suicide in my case, but the fuel economy of the 2014 Cruze is still a heck of a lot better than my last vehicle, even with hidden AC use.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I don't want to disable to air conditioner altogether. I just want to know which settings automatically turn on the AC without it telling me.

Yes I saw 1 person previously post about when you have the temperature control turned all the way to one end of the spectrum (hot vs cold) that is the "Max" option and it was suspected that it then automatically changes from fresh air intake to recycle air. I think that person's claim was discredited.

I just wish the manufacturer would make this stuff clear by having it automatically turn on the AC light when they have it automatically running AC. For 3 years I've been using "Defog" setting as my default for both hot+cold, even during temperatures that didn't need AC. So I've been getting poorer fuel mileage than I should have been for 3 years now.

Is there somewhere we can contact the manufacturer to ask for a complete guide on this? It just seems crazy there are all these speculative features that we are unaware of (not in the manual) that we may NOT want to be enabled without our knowledge. It's like the manufacturer had to protect against the dumbest of the dumb car drivers, but took away the full control of regular drivers and now we don't know what we're getting.

I know with my previous car (96 cavalier) the AC light would come on when I use the defrost feature, which told me it was using AC for defrost. That car had a "defog" (window + Feet split) feature, but the AC light did not come on, and I know it did not use AC because I could tell the difference. And now the cruze uses AC automatically for the Defog feature, but of course no AC light comes on. A bit frustrating. As I said it seems they wanted to protect people from being too stupid, but then in the process are keeping everyone in the dark about what the car is doing.
 

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My 2001 Sentra had an unmarked stop on the rotary dial, for defog+floor without A/C. Turn it 1/2 stop farther, to the marked position, and you got /with A/C. Was hoping for some feature like that on the Cruze for people who know what the difference is, but haven't found it.
 

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I can definitely tell when my Cruze is running the A/C compressor. It completely changes the RPM behavior when I'm shifting gears (manual transmission), it drags the engine down like a brake. And it increases my air intake temps since the A/C radiator sits right up against the inter cooler. I use my ultra-gauge to monitor intake temps.


The only times I notice the A/C compressor running even though the snowflake is not lit, is when you're using what you referred to as "defrost" and "defog" mode. Any time air is blowing on the windshield, the A/C is used to dry the air so it doesn't put moisture on your window.
 
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Hello.

Is there anyone on here, or a guide or something made up, that can explain all the different combinations of vent/floor/defog/defrost/etc, circulation on/off, etc, options and when the AC automatically engages without the driver's consent/knowledge?

Thanks.
The Owners Manual:2cents:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The Owners Manual:2cents:
As the other poster below you mentioned, owners manual does not speak to this issue. It simply states that if the AC light is on, you have AC, if not, then you don't. But we know that is not as simple as that.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Floor/recirc and defrost are the only ones I know.

You'll pretty much know when it's running. The car turns into a slug.
So "Floor + Recirc" is confirmed as using AC?

I don't doubt you, as I've seen that mentioned before, but it just doesn't make sense why that would be. Why would you have any reason to be forced to use AC in that method? It's insane. Let the driver decide if they want dry/dehumidified air blown on their feet. The only thing I can think is they just presumed the only time you would use that combination is if you had snow/wet feet, and having dry hot air vs not as dry hot air to dry them faster. But leave it up to the driver to make those decisions. Again it just seems like they're trying to get ahead of stupid people but at the same time taking away from people who can make these decisions for themselves.
 

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So "Floor + Recirc" is confirmed as using AC?

I don't doubt you, as I've seen that mentioned before, but it just doesn't make sense why that would be. Why would you have any reason to be forced to use AC in that method? It's insane. Let the driver decide if they want dry/dehumidified air blown on their feet. The only thing I can think is they just presumed the only time you would use that combination is if you had snow/wet feet, and having dry hot air vs not as dry hot air to dry them faster. But leave it up to the driver to make those decisions. Again it just seems like they're trying to get ahead of stupid people but at the same time taking away from people who can make these decisions for themselves.
It did for my 2012 at least. No earthly idea why.

The Gen 2's have a humidity sensor in all trims. When it gets to a point on fresh air where the windows start to fog up, the A/C kicks on automatically for a few seconds and brings the in-cabin humidity back down. Some people might hate that, but I find it helpful.
 

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It did for my 2012 at least. No earthly idea why.

The Gen 2's have a humidity sensor in all trims. When it gets to a point on fresh air where the windows start to fog up, the A/C kicks on automatically for a few seconds and brings the in-cabin humidity back down. Some people might hate that, but I find it helpful.

It's a feature I wouldn't want on my Cruze, but I desperately need that for my MX-5. For some reason convertibles allow SO much moisture and humidity to get into the cabin. Might be the open drains for the top, or maybe the fabric material itself. All I know is driving it when it's raining or in the morning is pretty dangerous unless you wipe the windows off before you go.

Also, I haven't noticed A/C on when it's on floor/recirc but to be fair, I don't think I use that combo much. I'll check it out.
 

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Okay so I think I've figured it all out...
I ran my car and left the fan speed on 1 so it was nice and quiet so i could watch the RPM gague, and listen to the engine.

The fan options are as follows:
Vent only (the one that blows in your face)
Vent + Floor
Floor Only
Defog (Window + Floor)
Defrost (Window only)

Vent only, and Vent+Floor, are the ONLY ones that will not automatically turn on your AC to run (even without the AC light coming on).
Floor only, Defog, and Defrost, ALL turn the AC on automatically, and do not turn on the AC light to notify you of this.
Yes you heard right, FLOOR ONLY is confirmed as using AC.

That explains why my car has been gutless at times. Because I have defaulted to using defog as my usual setting, come winter, summer, spring, and fall. So i've been running the AC anytime I have my fan blowing, without my knowledge. Wonder how many fuel tanks just of wasted AC (during seasons that were not particular cold) that I was wasting.

In addition to this, the following should be noted:
It did not matter whether I ran each fan setting in cold or hot air. The AC came on for that vent setting no matter what heat/cold I set it to.
It also did not change whether AC comes on or off whether you have the "Recycle air" on or off. It didn't matter. All that matters is what vent setting you have it set to blow out of (see above).

In addition, some people in this (and I noticed in other threads) made mention of "Max AC" on cool or hot. They mentioned that when you set the temperature gague all the way to the cool, or all the way to the hot, to the very end setting, that it will automatically change your air intake from fresh air and change it to "recycle/recirculate". They said this only happens when the AC is engaged. I confirmed that appears to be accurate. I went with the setting "Vent only", turned it 1 less than all the way cold, turned on the AC. the AC turns on. I had my air intake setting to "fresh air". I then turn the cold temp 1 more over so its at the very end (what some call max AC), and listened closely, and I heard the fresh air intake close and change itself into recycle/recirculate air (and of course they don't give the courtesy of turning on the light on that button so you know whats going on). I did not try this with the max hot setting, just cold. Perhaps if somebody here tests it in the hot setting that would be cool just to know. I'll probably do that if i remember next time I use the car.

But there's the verdict.

In conclusion:
The following vent settings let you control whether AC comes on or off: Vent only, Vent+Floor.
The following vent settings automatically turn on the AC, whether you like it or not: Floor only, Defog, Defrost.
Whether you have your temp set to hot or cold did not change whether AC comes on or off for the above.
Temperature level: If you have your AC turned on manually, or if it's on automatically from one of the above settings, if you turn it all the way to the coldest temp you can get, it AUTOMATICALLY will change your air intake to "Recycle/recirculate" whether you want it to or not. I did not try with the hottest setting to see if it did the same thing or not, but I presume it likely does.

So there you have it. I for one am not impressed. I believe the driver should have ultimate control whether he/she wishes the AC to be run via certain vent options. Or at the very LEAST, have the lights come on to tell the driver what's going on so we aren't driving around in ignorance and wondering why the car gets so pathetic fuel mileage and why it accelerates like it's pulling an 18 wheel trailer.
 

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Perhaps if somebody here tests it in the hot setting that would be cool just to know.
It doesn't close the recirc flap on heat. Hot air + recirculated moisture = fogged up windows.

Good investigative work though. Weird about the floor position (and I'm glad I never used that one anyway). I'm one of those weirdos that loves heat blasting in my face in the winter.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It doesn't close the recirc flap on heat. Hot air + recirculated moisture = fogged up windows.

Good investigative work though. Weird about the floor position (and I'm glad I never used that one anyway). I'm one of those weirdos that loves heat blasting in my face in the winter.

Note: I said it only closes when the AC is engaged and it's on the max setting. So therefore with AC engaged there would be no moisture to contend with. Therefore it is possible the hot setting could still close the recirc. I still plan to test next time I'm in my car assuming I don't forget.
 

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So just to be clear, in the winter time, when I am running FULL HEAT on any fan speed above 0, directed at FLOOR ONLY, the A/C compressor is running? That's extremely strange.
 

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Good to know, in winter I'm pretty much use vent only, and other times of year it's vent + floor and defrost. Luckily I never used the floor only.

My 2003 Ford Taurus winter beater turns a/c on automatically in the vent + floor config... didn't figure that out until I had it several months. Gas mileage improved after that ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I continued to test whether it closes the re-circulation flap on hot. I believe with AC on, and in the max hot temperature, it does close the re-circulation flap automatically.

I emailed General Motors for an answer on this. We will see if i get a response. I just think this sucks. Let the driver be in control of their own settings. Or at least light the features up so we know what's going on. This hidden agenda of turning the AC on, or closing the re-circulation flap, against the driver's knowledge/consent, doesn't sit well with me.
 

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So just to be clear, in the winter time, when I am running FULL HEAT on any fan speed above 0, directed at FLOOR ONLY, the A/C compressor is running? That's extremely strange.
Yes that is correct. The only difference is it doesn't matter if it's full heat or not. You could be running the temp at the middle (between blue and red). It will still run the AC. Put it this way, if you have Floor Only enabled, your AC is running without your consent, no matter what temperature you have it set to, and no matter what fan speed you have it set to.
 
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