Should I shut off my AC when driving up hills in the summer?

Dear Car Talk
When I drive up hills in the summer time I turn off the air conditioner to save gas and to release strain on the engine, my wife gets upset, she says it`s not worth it.What is your opinion?

Happy wife, Happy life.


She’s right


This practice may add 10 miles to the life of your engine.


She is right. You are not “saving” the engine. Give this practice up. It hasn’t been relevant in 40 years if it ever was.


Many modern cars have this function built into them already. When the ECM detects a heavy load, it will temporarily shut down the compressor until load goes away.


It probably does save a little gas, but if it upsets the wife, saving 75 cents is definitely not worth the aggravation. My dad would do that when driving across northern Nevada, which is one big hill, followed by one long valley after another. He’d turn off the AC when going uphill, then turn it back on to max for the downhill, not only to cool us off, but to slow the car down so he could avoid wearing out the brakes … lol … Nobody complained in our family so it wasn’t of any concern. If we got a little hot on the uphills, we’d know we’d be cooling off soon anyway on the next downhill But like I say, if the wife complains, not worth it.

I just recall, he’d tell us we’d use the savings to buy breakfast at the Nevada Club casino in Reno. There were signs all along I80: Breakfast, 49cents, Nevada Club. It really was 49 cents (at the time), and was a pretty tasty breakfast too. Last time I was in Reno the Nevada Club still offered a very inexpensive breakfast, the same one in fact, but it was more like $2.99, not 49 cents. One good thing about the Nevada Club, at the time anyway they still offered single deck blackjack, my favorite!!

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If you ever wear out the switch, it costs money to replace. If you get distracted you won’t see that deer, moose or turkey in the road. Learn now, don’t wait.


I think them is missing the point and them already has the answer. “The wife thinks it’s not worth it”. Yep. Leave it on and splurge on a good restaurant once in a while. You can’t take the savings with you.

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Guy dies, leaves his inheritance split equally between 3 nephews he doesn’t really like. Stipulates they have to throw the money into his coffin before he is buried. After the funeral, the 3 nephews are sitting at a bar and one says he has a confession to make- “I only threw 2/3 of the money into the casket and kept 1/3 for myself”. The second nephew says- “As long as we’re confessing, I only threw in 1/2 the money and kept the other 1/2 for myself”. The third nephew says- “I’m ashamed of the both of you, I threw in a check for the full amount!”.


If the OP was driving an older econobox with a tiny engine, then it might make some sense, but with his Charger it is totally unnecessary–especially since the car’s HVAC system will cause the A/C compressor to cut-out if necessary.


Ah… now I know why Chargers cost $60,000!

Sixty grand? What monetary system? It must be highly optioned if it’s $60,000US.

The trunk must have been stuffed with $20k in cash if the car cost $60k.

Not going to the “build your own” site, but I imagine you could equip a Charger to upwards of 60 grand, definitely could hit that figure with a Challenger.

Because the air compressor will cut off under load ? All most all vehicles do that and it may add 10.00 to the build cost.

Well, I did (I know how to have fun!). The R/T maxes out at $50,000. Even a loaded Scat Pack maxes out at $53,000. I suppose with taxes, tags, title and gas guzzler tax you might add $7000.

Heh heh. Interesting that local funeral director told this joke a couple days ago when we were discussing different funeral cultures. One including putting money in the coffin but he said prior to cremation. Big check, no problem. Can’t be deducted though.

Remember the rules of marriage.

1- Your wife is always right
2- When wife is wrong, see rule #1

Long live your marriage!!!


A variant of those rules is the following saying:
I don’t need Google because my wife knows everything!’