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Running the AC at lunch time

Now did I hear you correctly, it does no harm to the vehicle to sit in your car in the parking lot and run the AC while you eat your lunch?? I had a 89 Bronco II was out with a friend and my 1 year old. Ran into a store to pick up some things and asked him to stay with the baby in the car, came out in 20 minutes the temp gauge was in the red.

That Bronco apparently had a problem with the cooling system. It could have been low on coolant or the fan or fan clutch may have had a problem. The radiator may have been partially plugged up. None of these issues would be surprising on a 20+ year old vehicle, or a neglected five year old vehicle for that matter. Any car with a properly functioning cooling system can indeed be idled in a parking lot with the air conditioning running with no risk of harm to the vehicle. If a car has a problem doing this, there is a problem somewhere that needs to be corrected.

Back before electric fans cars had more problems, and an '89 anything might have that problem.

I had a 89 Bronco II ...Ran into a store...20 minutes the temp gauge was in the red.
Your 20+ year-old Bronco overheats? Well, that's compelling evidence that no car should be left idling with the air on! I've never had a problem leaving my car running with the AC on.

Well, that’s compelling evidence that no car should be left idling with the air on! I’ve never had a problem leaving my car running with the AC on. …

What are you saying? No car should be left idling or its no prob since you do it and have no probs?

meaneyedcatz: I think it’s sarcasm. That’s how I took it, anyway.

The Bronco2 wasn’t really Ford’s best idea to begin with. High off the ground and short wheelbase.

Can’t imagine being stuck in rush hour/road construction/major accident on the freeway traffic for several HOURS without having AC on in the summer time.

I remember some full size van with a sticker warning not to idle for extended periods because it could overheat the exhaust system.

During a (very) recent trip back down South, both the wife and I were kinda tired (crappy night on a crappy hotel bed). We decided to pull off for a while and rest rather than risk our lives and htose around us. I parked in where the rigs parked (I also had a rather large trailer), cracked the windows a couple inches, and shut everything down. It took about 3 minutes for me to figure out that wasn’t going to work…rolled them all back up, and ran it while we slept peacfully for about an hour. No problems at all.

In addition to the reasons mentioned above, having a damaged (or missing) radiator shroud will also cause bad cooling, which you won’t see while moving. I’d imagine you have some damage, and should check yours. They’re plastic, and often get damaged, and then ignored.

Then again, my truck isn’t 20 years old.

Phil, as long as your car is in good shape, it should do no harm.