Fresh air/recirculating air - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-13-2014, 05:34 AM Thread Starter
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Fresh air/recirculating air

My wife has complained about having to turn on recirculating air every time she starts her new RAV4, I haven't been able to find any info in the manual. Question is, is that something she is stuck with or can it be programmed to always be in recirculating air?

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post #2 of 9 Old 05-13-2014, 07:27 AM
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Most car these days are designed to use the recirculation function only temporarily and to revert to "open" automatically after some time. This is for safety reasons. With four people inside and reciculation, you will build up enough moisture in 30 mins or so to start fogging the windows,

This wasn't an issue with older cars because they were as airtight as a pasta strainer. But modern cars are very airtight and not having a constant fresh air inlet would be an issue. With the advent of micropore cabin filters, fresh, filtered air coming through the vents is actulally cleaner than the air inside the car.
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post #3 of 9 Old 05-13-2014, 08:36 AM Thread Starter
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I'm not mocking your answer, for I'm in the HVAC business and know of the importance of fresh air, but in a car that can dehumidify the air it's a mute point. I had a 04 Dodge CTD 2500 and my wife complained about the diesel smell from semi's exhaust, when I brought that up with the service righter he explained the same scenario. It turned out that the damper door was faulty and was discovered after warranty expired. The RAV4 is ok with that, but my wife hates fresh air mode and almost never sets it for fresh air, and would like to not have to turn it on every time she gets in it.

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post #4 of 9 Old 05-13-2014, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by RVTRKN View Post
... but in a car that can dehumidify the air it's a mute point. ... The RAV4 is ok with that, but my wife hates fresh air mode and almost never sets it for fresh air, and would like to not have to turn it on every time she gets in it.
Even if you can dehumidify the air, you still need fresh air / oxygen supply to breath and prevent CO2 accumulation. Maybe you should explain to your wife why it is important to get fresh air into a basically airtight car. Considering the volume of a car and four people breathing, you will reach >1% CO2 level in about one hour without any air exchange, 1% CO2 is enough to make you feel sleepy and slow down your reactions.

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post #5 of 9 Old 05-13-2014, 05:48 PM
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The dealer can change this to your preference. Both of our '08 models always start on recirculate so I find this odd on the newer models. In South Texas any setting other than recirc is a fool's errand.....it just doesn't cut it when the A/C is on and the temps are up, which is almost always. I never set mine to fresh air coming in with the A/C on because it simply doesn't cut it. I suppose it depends on where you are and what temps and humidity you endure. Down here it is 100% recirc., A/C on maxed out or near full blast and that's it.......providing you want to stay cool.

All this blah blah blah about needing fresh air settings may be fine for New England but it doesn't cut it where I live.
Federal mandates require that SOME fresh air be introduced into the cabin no matter how the controls are set so this is a non issue.
Even recirc introduces some fresh air.
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Last edited by fgf001; 05-13-2014 at 05:56 PM.
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-13-2014, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Had an interesting conversation with my wife, and come to find out in a unrelated issue, she had blood work done and High CO2 showed up in her blood. So I told her to open the fresh air from time to time and check the next blood test see if its down.

But she still wants the recirculating air on when she turns the key on, I'll ask my dealer about it.

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post #7 of 9 Old 05-14-2014, 08:05 AM
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Had an interesting conversation with my wife, and come to find out in a unrelated issue, she had blood work done and High CO2 showed up in her blood. So I told her to open the fresh air from time to time and check the next blood test see if its down.

But she still wants the recirculating air on when she turns the key on, I'll ask my dealer about it.
If you have the XLE or Limited and leave the climate control in AUTO, it will turn on automatically on RECIRC in hot weather, and stay this way until the temperature has reached the target (about 5-10 min). Once the temperature is on target, it will revert to normal operation.

In warmer weather, the system will start in OPEN.

It will also pick the "best" vent configuration (floor, face, etc.) depending on the inside temperature.

That's the default setting in all Toyotas with automated dual zone climate control, It can be re-configured by the dealer.

Now, if you operate the climate control manually (select the vents and fan speed), you will defeat the AUTO RECIRC option on start-up.
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-14-2014, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I'll relay that on to my wife, but in a week and a half we will be on a 3K mile trip, so I'll know more about the RAV4. I'm taking it to the dealer and changing the oil at 1500 miles so I'll ask about the programing.

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post #9 of 9 Old 05-22-2014, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by katekebo View Post
If you have the XLE or Limited and leave the climate control in AUTO, it will turn on automatically on RECIRC in hot weather, and stay this way until the temperature has reached the target (about 5-10 min). Once the temperature is on target, it will revert to normal operation.

In warmer weather, the system will start in OPEN.

It will also pick the "best" vent configuration (floor, face, etc.) depending on the inside temperature.

That's the default setting in all Toyotas with automated dual zone climate control, It can be re-configured by the dealer.

Now, if you operate the climate control manually (select the vents and fan speed), you will defeat the AUTO RECIRC option on start-up.

Why would they change this in 4.4 models? I'm not doubting but it makes no sense at all. Both of our '08 models (one Base, one Limited) start 100% of the time on recirc and NEVER goes to outside air unless you do it manually. I've only run the heater a handful of times over the years so I don't know how it works. My Limited with the automated dual zone starts in recirc under all conditions/settings and never once in five years has it moved from face to floor, etc. Most of the time I run it on manual with the temp set to low and choose my own fan speed but regardless of how it is set it does none of the things you say all Toyotas with auto dual zone air do.

I take your "wisdom" with five pounds of salt for 4.3 models but perhaps you are correct on 4.4.

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Last edited by fgf001; 05-22-2014 at 04:13 PM.
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