It sounds like a pretty solid idea. The $14.99 Auto Cool pulls the hot air out of your car while you sit, hopefully in air-conditioned comfort at work or home. But is it a cool concept or is the device just a little lukewarm?
To test this product we used two cars, two volunteers and one dummy.
Christian Pebbler Sacramento Metro Fire Department believes that inside the test vehicle, it’s probably 150 degrees in there or more.
A test dummy was also used in place of an actual person, of course for safety reasons. Our dummy, who we like to call Jane, has a hole in her head, so she should be able to endure a little heat.
“It’s always a heckuva lot hotter in the car than it is on the outside,” Pebbler said.
Yep, intense heat from that magnifying glass of a windshield can make getting into your car painful.
“It’s hot. You sit in there with shorts, you’re absolutely going to get your legs burned,” added Pebbler.
To avoid getting into a hot car, administrative assistant Marilynn Simmons, who’s the backbone of our newsroom tries all the tricks like parking in the shade and cracking the windows.
“I could reach into the car and steal all that money in the cup holder, ” said Marilynn.
“What’s it like going to your car? Are you excited to go in? ”
Marilynn responds, “No.”
We asked her if she heard of the Auto Cool fan?
“No I haven’t.”
The infomercial says that the same sun that makes your car blistering hot can make it bearable, with the Auto Cool.
But Marilynn’s first impressions is, “No, it wouldn’t work.”
Maybe because it’s a T.V. ad, an informercial. Many people don’t trust what’s being sold on T.V.
So we set up two tests, one with Marilynn, in the gold Chevy, and one with Jane, inside the black Explorer. With a little help from our friend at Sacramento Metro Fire, we check the temp in both cars sitting in the afternoon sun. First Jane’s, with two thermometers.
“151 degrees, that’s hot. That’s very hot,” Pebbler said. Now we’ll check Marilynn’s.
It sounds pretty simple. Place the Auto Cool on the window and add the weather stripping. But it turns out, it’s not as simple as it seems. While placing the weathering strips on the explorer, no problems.
Would Christian want to do that every single day? He quickly replied, “No.”
And on Marilynn’s car? “The weather stripping was not easy to put on. And looking at it now? There’s a little bit of a gap it’s not as straight down,” said Marilynn.
But the solar power gets the fan moving with ease. And there’s even hot air coming out of the fan. We check the instructions and find one major thing to avoid.
“Do not leave children or pets unattended in a vehicle. That’s period, or ever. Whether it’s a hot day or you have this machine or not it’s just a no-no,” said Pebbler.
So we decide to wait inside where there’s air conditioning. We let the auto cool go to work for a full half hour. So here’s the defining moment. Is Marilyn’s car cooler?
Look at the thermometer, it’s a whopping 185-degrees, actually 30-degrees warmer!!!
” What do you think about the Auto Cool? ”
Marilynn replied, “Not a lot. Not a lot. I wouldn’t buy it. For $14.99 not, no.”
Marilynn thinks this little plastic fan is too hot to handle. “It’s hot! And not in a good way!”
And we almost forgot about our friend Jane. Lets check out Jane to see how she’s doing.
We open the car door to find Jane tumbling out of the vehicle with no pulse.
Of course, never, ever leave pets or kids in the car. Period. The Auto Cool fan was moving, but no where on the instructions did it tell us how the system works, but they did give us this handy cup holder to go with it. They told us that it was free.