Dear Tom and Ray:
My wife and I live in the northwest corner of Georgia, and she insists on running her car's air conditioner at all times -- winter, summer, spring, fall, day, night, doesn't matter. While I don't mind using it when it's hot, I think using it in winter does nothing but waste gas (as your engine does have to work harder when the air is on). But she thinks that by running it in the winter, it will keep her hair nice because, according to her, it keeps the humidity low. When we drive somewhere together, sometimes I can sneak my hand over and turn it off while she's not looking, and, after the inevitable argument that results from my surreptitious action, I can't ever tell any difference in her hair. But she insists that she can. We've argued back and forth about this for 10 years now, and I think it is finally time we settled it once and for all. Should I consult a hairstylist on this question, or can you guys help us end this argument?
Tom: Jeff, here's what you need to realize: Once your wife divorces you, she'll use the air conditioning whenever she wants, since she'll be getting the car. And you'll be living in a refrigerator box.
Ray: My brother knows whereof he speaks, Jeff. When he got divorced the second time, he had to downsize to a studio refrigerator box.
Tom: You need to give it a rest, man. You've been on her case for 10 years over this? Who cares? If she says it makes her hair look better, then it looks better.
Ray: She's probably right. Using the air conditioner decreases the humidity in the air. And everybody knows that humid days are bad-hair days. Of course, humid days for me are "no hair days." Just like every other day.
Tom: On many cars, the air conditioner automatically goes on when you turn on the defroster. Why? For the same reason your wife uses it: To remove moisture from the air and clear water vapor off the inside of the windshield faster. If you've got one of those cars, you're using the AC in the winter whether you know it or not.
Ray:So, consider the facts, Jeff: (A) She's right. (B) You're being a pest. And (C) a divorce is much more expensive than the small amount of gas she's using to run the air conditioner. So you decide the best course of action here.
Tom: And let me know if you need a refrigerator box. I may have to downsize again soon.
(Car Talk is a nationally syndicated column by automotive experts (and brothers) Tom and Ray Magliozzi. Write to them at the Car Talk website.)