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There's an e-mail circulating a warning about turning on the aircon immediately after getting in the car.

It says a car parked under the heat end up emitting more Benzene, a cancer-causing toxin coming from overheated plastic parts of the car like the dashboard. According to the email, this Benzene may also cause anemia and increases the risk of miscarriage. Is this true? Thanks!

-- Erica (e-mail)

Hi, Erica!

This is probably something that is better left to the car manufacturers to answer. There is probably no easy or cheap way to prove or disprove this for us regular guys. A chemical sniffer could work but who's got one, right?

In any case, it's good practice to vent out the air inside a parked car for anywhere from a few moments to a a few minutes to expel hot air particularly when you've been parked under the sun for a while.

It will help the aircon system cool the interior quicker, as well as save fuel as the aircon compressor doesn't have to be on or work so hard during the time it has to bring down the temperature of the now hot air.

It's much easier just to drop the windows and expel the hot air rather than bathe in the hot air while the aircon tries to do its thing, too.

Best regards,

Ferman

Ferman Lao
Technical Editor
Wearing the hats of a race car driver, driving instructor, grease monkey, tuner, dyno operator, auto shop owner, motoring journalist and CAGI president at one time or another, or all at once, deep down he's just another guy who loves cars.
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