Can I Sleep In My Car With The AC Running?

Whether you’re waiting in your car for someone, avoiding paying for a cheap hotel room, or needing some cool air in your parked car, you may want to take a nap with your AC running.

While many do let the AC run while sitting in our cars, you should avoid sleeping in your car with the AC running, and we’ll tell you why.

Can I Sleep In My Car With The AC Running

Is It Safe To Sleep In A Running Car With The Air Conditioner On?

Taking even a small nap in a car with the AC on full blast is a dangerous game. This is due to CO poisoning. Carbon monoxide can enter your vehicle’s interior through cracks and vents in your car’s windows and engine.

Research shows getting a little shut-eye in a vehicle when the AC is on can be life-threatening as it is a sure-fire way to become susceptible to poisoning from air conditioning gases.

One can even die of suffocation when breathing in this toxic recycled air as opposed to fresh air. Moreover, the fumes from the exhaust may suffocate you.

It is best to leave the windows down and the engine off when sleeping in cars overnight. Hopefully, the outside air will ensure coolness and allow you to get some sleep safely.

What Could Go Wrong Sleeping In A Car With AC Running?

Researchers state that sleeping in a vehicle when leaving the AC running can prove life-threatening. Read on to discover why this isn’t a good idea. This rule applies to electric cars and fuel-powered vehicles.

You could die of suffocation

When sleeping in a vehicle with the AC on, it is possible to die of suffocation. This is because you breathe in the same air recycled by the car.

On top of this, exhaust fumes from your vehicle can make their way inside the car and suffocate you. This is especially the case if a major leak occurs.

There is every chance a sleeping individual could die when resting in a vehicle that has the air conditioner on, as the oxygen levels will be at an all-time low.

Carbon monoxide poisoning

The most crucial point to note if considering sleeping in a car with the AC running on is carbon monoxide chemicals. This chemical is a big component that makes up part of your car’s exhaust fumes.

When larger quantities are allowed to accumulate inside your car, you may find yourself in trouble. The issue with this toxic gas is that it is odorless, which means you won’t even notice you are breathing it in.

You could get a chill

If the air conditioner unit in your vehicle is extremely cold and it is very hot outside, you could catch a chill. You may even wake up shivering and confused, especially if you have taken a lengthy nap.

Gas leaks

You could be susceptible to a gas leak when sleeping in a car for an extended period without freshly circulated air or in an enclosed garage. This is especially the case if the AC system is running malfunctions due to being left on for long periods.

Electrical components could malfunction

On top of that, the AC system is extremely bad for you. If left on when sleeping in your car when leaving the engine running, your vehicle may experience malfunctions – even if safely parked.

These malfunctions, such as running down a car battery and a failed exhaust pipe or faulty exhaust system likely to go unnoticed when you are sleeping in a car and could prove detrimental to your journey when you wake. They may even release more harmful exhaust fumes into your vehicle, resulting in brain damage.

Can I Sleep In My Car With The AC Running

How Long Can You Sit In A Car With The AC Running?

As long as your car’s engine is running and you have enough gas, you can keep your vehicle running with the AC on for many hours! When the engine is off, you should avoid having the AC on as this will not only drain the car battery, meaning you will need a jumpstart, but it could cause you to suffocate!

Related FAQs

Is it safe to sleep in a car?

It is safe to sleep in a car overnight or during the day, providing the vehicle is parked in a safe and secure location, away from main roads. Choose an area that offers overnight parking for best results, but avoid enclosed garages or a fully enclosed space.

The car must be turned off, and the keys should be removed; the hand brake should also be firmly on, and by no means should a car with the air conditioning unit in place be turned on if you wish to sleep safely.

Can you sleep in your car with the windows up?

Yes, providing the car engine is off and the AC isn’t running, you may get a little warm. It is always best to leave a slight gap in the windows to ensure healthy air inside the vehicle. This way, you can sleep in your car safely.

Can you die sleeping in a running car?

No, as the gas carbon monoxide may cause you to suffocate. This can occur when you sleep in your car, and the car engine remains on with the AC system in full play.

How long does it take to get carbon monoxide poisoning from a car?

Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control revealed that CO toxins could become life-threatening in just seven minutes in a car running with the AC on.

This is based on a 1,200 ppm (parts per million) concentration and denotes just a five-horsepower engine that runs off the gasoline in a room spanning 10,000 cubic feet.

Author: DJ

Dave Junior is a hands-on automotive technician with experience in performing service, diagnostics, and repairs on domestic and imported vehicles. He enjoys writing and sharing his knowledge far and wide.

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