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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Folks,

This is my first Honda, in fact new(er) car in about 15 years, so am getting used to a lot of new technology and features that haven't existed in my previous vehicles. (In fact both of my other vehicles are 20+ years old.) I have a 2017 Pilot Elite I purchased used in January.

Whenever I turn my AC on (Climate Control) this summer it defaults to Recirculate On. Is this normal, in order to cool the vehicle down ASAP? If so does it ever switch over to Recirculate Off? If so, I have never seen it happen on my vehicle, and am wondering if there’s something wrong or if this is normal.

Thanks for the help!

TerryG
 

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I have a 2017 Elite as well and just noticed the same last week.

I had the car for almost 3 years now and it is the first time I picked up on it... I will keep my eye for on it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Hi Folks,

This is my first Honda, in fact new(er) car in about 15 years, so am getting used to a lot of new technology and features that haven't existed in my previous vehicles. (In fact both of my other vehicles are 20+ years old.) I have a 2017 Pilot Elite I purchased used in January.

Whenever I turn my AC on (Climate Control) this summer it defaults to Recirculate On. Is this normal, in order to cool the vehicle down ASAP? If so does it ever switch over to Recirculate Off? If so, I have never seen it happen on my vehicle, and am wondering if there’s something wrong or if this is normal.

Thanks for the help!

TerryG
Yes it's normal. Which is easier to cool, hot outside air or inside air that has been cooled down? Understand that you are still getting some fresh air mixed in with the recirculated air. Don't believe me, drive over a dead skunk with the AC on in recirculation mode and see if you smell skunk.
 

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No worries. This is normal. Somehow Pilot likes to keep AC recirculate. Our other 14 year old Honda recirculates very briefly with auto mode.

Hi Folks,

This is my first Honda, in fact new(er) car in about 15 years, so am getting used to a lot of new technology and features that haven't existed in my previous vehicles. (In fact both of my other vehicles are 20+ years old.) I have a 2017 Pilot Elite I purchased used in January.

Whenever I turn my AC on (Climate Control) this summer it defaults to Recirculate On. Is this normal, in order to cool the vehicle down ASAP? If so does it ever switch over to Recirculate Off? If so, I have never seen it happen on my vehicle, and am wondering if there’s something wrong or if this is normal.

Thanks for the help!

TerryG
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
No worries. This is normal. Somehow Pilot likes to keep AC recirculate. Our other 14 year old Honda recirculates very briefly with auto mode.
So when you say briefly, it eventually shifts recirculate to Off?
 

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Unless it's really hot outside, I manually turn the recirculate to off. Temp & fan settings still work as in auto.
 

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Hi Folks,

This is my first Honda, in fact new(er) car in about 15 years, so am getting used to a lot of new technology and features that haven't existed in my previous vehicles. (In fact both of my other vehicles are 20+ years old.) I have a 2017 Pilot Elite I purchased used in January.

Whenever I turn my AC on (Climate Control) this summer it defaults to Recirculate On. Is this normal, in order to cool the vehicle down ASAP? If so does it ever switch over to Recirculate Off? If so, I have never seen it happen on my vehicle, and am wondering if there’s something wrong or if this is normal.

Thanks for the help!

TerryG
Also, when you turn off the recirculate, then AUTO light will turn off. This startled me at first and might make you worried, but rest assured because the auto A/C is still on. I'm not a fan of how Honda made the A/C controls for someone who has a lot of trouble learning things fast. If I turn on sync, it turns on the rear A/C too. I like the way it is in my Ford where you can turn on and off dual zone, but in the Honda, it's always on. I like having both front seats at the same temp, but not all the time someone is in the back. It would've been nice if Honda had an easy mode or something for the A/C.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
With our old Honda, in 95+ degree summer, the ac switches to fresh air after about 10 min. On the other hand, Pilot likes to keep recirculte. Maybe new cars have AC programmed this way to save fuel?
OK thanks. The conventional wisdom in my GM/Fords was to wait until the hot air was removed from the ducts and windows down to exhaust the hot hair before switching to recirculate mode. That air is superheated, as we all know. I prefer that method but I can see recirc on would work better for remote start, maybe that's the rationale. But in any case there are probably more times here in the upper Midwest where we prefer and makes more sense to use fresh air vs. recirc.

Thanks!

TG
 

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With our old Honda, in 95+ degree summer, the ac switches to fresh air after about 10 min. On the other hand, Pilot likes to keep recirculte. Maybe new cars have AC programmed this way to save fuel?
On older vehicles what is now called recirculate was called Max Air. With the old max air button it did two things. The first was recirculate the air in the cabin but secondly it kicked all the fan speeds into overdrive to cool faster. The though was then that cool the cabin air first then switch to fresh air. When you did the three fan speeds all went back to normal. Try switching you recirculate off now, you will see that the fan speeds do not change. Recirculate in modern cars is designed to recirculate most of the cabin air while exchanging some of it for external air.

With newer air-conditioning the manufacturers have figured out that it is less taxing on the system to cool the inside air and just keep re-cooling it instead of cooling the hotter outside air. But then with older vehicles they were designed to be driving windows up, windows down etc. Didn't really matter.

Now vehicles are designed to be driven windows up all the time for fuel economy, quiet and comfort. The only time I switch to fresh air these days are on the days that used to be windows down to enjoy the breeze days. I crack the moon roof open, set the temp to the outside air temp and turn on the fresh air. Pulls a nice breeze through. I miss hanging my arm out the window, but the skin on my left arm thanks me for not exposing it to copious amounts of UV rays, ie no more farmers tan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
On older vehicles what is now called recirculate was called Max Air. With the old max air button it did two things. The first was recirculate the air in the cabin but secondly it kicked all the fan speeds into overdrive to cool faster. The though was then that cool the cabin air first then switch to fresh air. When you did the three fan speeds all went back to normal. Try switching you recirculate off now, you will see that the fan speeds do not change. Recirculate in modern cars is designed to recirculate most of the cabin air while exchanging some of it for external air.

With newer air-conditioning the manufacturers have figured out that it is less taxing on the system to cool the inside air and just keep re-cooling it instead of cooling the hotter outside air. But then with older vehicles they were designed to be driving windows up, windows down etc. Didn't really matter.

Now vehicles are designed to be driven windows up all the time for fuel economy, quiet and comfort. The only time I switch to fresh air these days are on the days that used to be windows down to enjoy the breeze days. I crack the moon roof open, set the temp to the outside air temp and turn on the fresh air. Pulls a nice breeze through. I miss hanging my arm out the window, but the skin on my left arm thanks me for not exposing it to copious amounts of UV rays, ie no more farmers tan.
A couple of you have now said that recirc does also introduce outside air in newer cars, I was unaware of that. thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just found this interesting discussion on a CR-V forum, which seems to confirm what we are seeing. I would like to test the close-threshold inside/outside temp theory to see if it turns off. Also maybe trying disconnecting the battery to do a system reset.


TG
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well now I feel kinda foolish that I didn't try this before. I just tried this yesterday, outside temp was 82 and I had the CC set to Auto/70. I gradually upped the temp until the recirc turned off at 77. It did this pretty consistently several times. Maybe I just never reach Nirvana with the high humidity here recently or my AC is preforming crap that it can never achieve Nirvana. It certainly does not get as cold as my older GM and Ford cars do, that’s for certain. I stopped into the dealership and asked about it. They sat in my car and thought it was as cold as expected. I think we used to expect about 35-40 degrees or so from the AC vents, does that sound right to anyone? Mine certainly isn’t that, more like 60 when I use an instant read cooking therm.
 

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Depends. AC output is dependent on outside temp. At 90F degrees a home HVAC uint is working fine if the register temp is 60-65 degrees, a 25 to 30 degree difference. In a vehicle AC at 90F outside the ac output should be in the 40-50 degree range. As the outside temp goes up or down then ac output will change as well.
 

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Well now I feel kinda foolish that I didn't try this before. I just tried this yesterday, outside temp was 82 and I had the CC set to Auto/70. I gradually upped the temp until the recirc turned off at 77. It did this pretty consistently several times. Maybe I just never reach Nirvana with the high humidity here recently or my AC is preforming crap that it can never achieve Nirvana. It certainly does not get as cold as my older GM and Ford cars do, that’s for certain. I stopped into the dealership and asked about it. They sat in my car and thought it was as cold as expected. I think we used to expect about 35-40 degrees or so from the AC vents, does that sound right to anyone? Mine certainly isn’t that, more like 60 when I use an instant read cooking therm.
Not sure if it's my imagination. Feels like older cars have colder AC. In a super humid day, the AC vents on my old Honda can blow "fog", but the new Pilot can never do that. Maybe it has something to do with freon? Maybe new cars are tuned to weaker AC to improve fuel/mileage?
 

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Not sure if it's my imagination. Feels like older cars have colder AC. In a super humid day, the AC vents on my old Honda can blow "fog", but the new Pilot can never do that. Maybe it has something to do with freon? Maybe new cars are tuned to weaker AC to improve fuel/mileage?
I agree, the old r12 systems were much better and would blow ice cold when properly charged. I don't think these new refrigerants are as efficient at removing heat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Depends. AC output is dependent on outside temp. At 90F degrees a home HVAC uint is working fine if the register temp is 60-65 degrees, a 25 to 30 degree difference. In a vehicle AC at 90F outside the ac output should be in the 40-50 degree range. As the outside temp goes up or down then ac output will change as well.
To your point, I read a couple articles that said car AC should be capable of producing 50% of ambient temp—in shade. To be fair, when I said 60 coming from my vents the car was outside in full sun and 85-90 degrees with high humidity, and I think it was actually closer to 50-55 if I remember right, plus the cheap instant read therm I bought are notoriously inaccurate.

Just drove home 85 miles in 90 degrees and it seems to be working fine. When I toggle the temp upwards from 70, the recirc did kick out in the 75-78 degree range, and we have high humidity. So I believe it is operating properly.

When I said my GM and Ford were colder, I have a ‘98 Mustang and a ‘01 Tahoe, and both came factory with R-134a, which is what my Pilot uses (I think), so shouldn’t be much different. Both of those vehicles have manual thermo control and just blow really cold all the time. In any case, the service mgr. I talked to at the dealership said she didn't think any of the newer cars AC were as cold as older cars either, and admitted to not using Auto mode at all in her Hondas.

TG
 
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