Reader asks about vent position on dash

Wheels: Don N. writes by e-mail: "Are there any 2016 sedans that have just plain air vents that bring in fresh air into the car without treating and regulating the air through heating or air conditioning systems? We enjoyed the good old days of opening an air vent to allow in fresh air at the outside temperature without opening the windows."

Halderman: All vehicles allow fresh air in to the passenger compartment without the air conditioning operating. However, I am not aware of any vehicle that offers a straight path for outside air to flow into the passenger compartment without flowing through the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

The mode to allow fresh air only to enter the passenger compartment is often referred to as economy or simply “ECON.” The temperature can be controlled using the temperature lever. This would allow some of the air to pass through the heater core on the way to the inside.

The position where the air enters the vehicle also is adjustable so it can be directed to the floor, dash or the defroster vents and often in combination of two or all three positions.

If air conditioning is wanted for cooling, then a button with a “snowflake” icon or the letters “AC” on it needs to be depressed to cause the A/C compressor to be engaged.

The air entering the cabin enters at the base of the windshield and first travels through a cabin filter where pollen and dirt are removed. The air then flows though the ducts to the interior.

Ask a knowledgeable salesperson to explain how this is achieved on the vehicle you are considering purchasing.

Have an automotive question? Write to Jim at jim@jameshalderman.com.