Reader Question: Windows Down Turbulence

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

John asks: I love the three days a year of nice weather we get in New Caney, TX. But when I open the windows of my 2015 Dodge Ram the wind starts buffeting and your ears pop and your head almost falls off – I really don’t know how to describe the turbulent affect opening the windows causes. It is horrific and I am shocked it hasn’t killed many people. A seriously awful problem. So, is this my particular truck? Is there some trim or accessory you can buy to deflect the wind or something and stop this crap? I wish the front end wasn’t so loose in my 1966 Ford F100 because those little triangle windows are just awesome.

My reply: Unfortunately, it is not just your truck. I test drive new vehicles – all types – every week and have encountered the same phenomenon. It is the result of design which assumes people will not drive with the windows down at more than low speeds – because all new cars have AC and it is therefore assumed people will use the AC rather than “450” AC – four windows down, 50 MPH – to cool the interior.

New (modern, anything built since about 20 years ago) cars are also very tightly sealed; there’s no place for turbulent air to cleanly flow so it buffets around the interior when the window’s down and creates that obnoxious reverb effect you’re dealing with. Which we’re all dealing with.

The only cars which are free from this problem are cars with sunroofs – or no roofs (convertibles) which give all that air pressure someplace to dissipate … other than your ear drums!

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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5 COMMENTS

  1. The trick on a sedan is to crack open ALL FOUR windows, you don’t accumulate back pressure in the cabin and get that ‘reverb’. With a pickup, if you have a sliding rear window, crack it open slightly. This will typically ‘cure’ the problem.

    • Yeah, I end up doing this too, never really gave the trick any thought til now, just noticed it helps relieve it.

      But the same thing did occur to me the other day about formerly being able to have just my driver side window down at high speeds without it being a real nuisance.. And it was back when I was driving older sedans.

      Just another one of the ways that the federally mandated MPG requirements has pooped all over the design of cars. Like the stupid tiny rear windows you can no longer see out of. More aerodynamic! Gets you an extra half a mile per gallon or something.

      • Hi Moose!

        In that “extra half MPG” – it’s not even that. And, back in the ’90s, cars routinely got better mileage than now… because they weighed less. All the “aerodynamic” Band Aids cannot compensate for fat. Put a skin-tight lycra outfit on Oprah and you still have… Oprah.

        Gore Vidal- a leftie but one of my favorite writers because the guy was both brilliant as well as a magnificent prose stylist – wrote about the amnesia of Americans. He was right. People, in the main, have no memory of things – which helps to account for their inability to get angry about or even notice the bad/stupid things today.

        They cannot recall how sensible cars were in the ’90s; and forget that economy cars in the mid-1980s routinely averaged 40-plus MPG without any of the technology Band Aids of today. Many still had carburetors; most did not have overdrive gearing.

        Imagine what those cars could achieve today…

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