How to instantly lower your car windows with the key remote

Did you know that many cars, trucks and vans can instantly lower all windows with the key remote? We'll show you how it works.

Ed Rhee
Ed Rhee, a freelance writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area, is an IT veteran turned stay-at-home-dad of two girls. He focuses on Android devices and applications while maintaining a review blog at techdadreview.com.
Ed Rhee
2 min read

Acura key remote
Ed Rhee/CNET

The temperature inside your car can get insanely hot on sunny days, regardless of the temperature outside. When you get to your car and it's boiling hot, what's the first thing you do? You lower the windows and blast the air conditioner, right?

A convenient feature that's been around for years, but remains unknown to many car owners, is the ability to lower the windows with the key remote. This allows you to begin cooling your car without having to get in first. Unless the car dealership told you about this trick or you happen to read manuals for fun, you may have been unaware of this ages-old trick.

The trick usually involves pressing the remote's unlock button, releasing it, then pressing it again and holding it down. In some cars, like Acuras, instead of using the remote, you can insert your key in the door lock and turn it clockwise, release, then turn it clockwise again and hold. Turning the key counterclockwise will usually raise the windows back up. Volkswagens require the key to be turned the opposite way (counterclockwise to lower and clockwise to raise), so if it doesn't work in one direction, try the other direction. Some cars will also include the sunroof as a window in this operation, while some convertibles with automatic tops will shut.

Based on an internal CNET poll, Reddit user comments and our very own CNET user comments, we've confirmed that the trick works on various models from the following manufacturers:

  • Acura (MDX/TL/TSX/ZDX)
  • Alfa Romeo (159)
  • Audi (A1/A3/A4/A6/A7)
  • BMW (3 Series/5 Series/6 Series/7 Series/M5/Z4)
  • Chevrolet (Corvette/Equinox)
  • Chrysler (Sebring/Town & Country)
  • Dodge (Challenger/Charger/Durango/Grand Caravan/Journey/Ram)
  • Fiat (Bravo)
  • Ford (C-Max/F150/Focus/Focus Ghia/Fusion/Galaxy/Mondeo/S-Max/Taurus)
  • Honda (Accord/Accord Crosstour/Odyssey/Pilot/Ridgeline)
  • Infiniti (G25x/G35/G37/I30/I35/M35/QX56)
  • Jeep (Grand Cherokee)
  • Jaguar (S Type/XF/XJ8/XK8)
  • Lexus (ES300/GS350/IS250/RX300/RX350/RX400h)
  • Lincoln (LS/MKX/MKZ/Zephyr)
  • Mazda (6/CX-9/MX-5 Miata)
  • Mercedes-Benz (B180/C240/C300/CLK350/CLS550/E350/E430/E500/GL450/ML550)
  • Mini Cooper (Clubman/S/Mayfair)
  • Nissan (350Z/Altima/Armada/Maxima/Murano/Pathfinder/Titan)
  • Opel
  • Peugot (508)
  • Saab (9-3)
  • SEAT (Leon)
  • Skoda (Fabia/Octavia II)
  • Toyota (Prius)
  • Vauxhall (Insignia/Vectra/Zafira)
  • Volkswagen (Beetle/Golf/Jetta/Passat/Polo/Routan)
  • Volvo (C30/S40/S60/V50)

If your car has this feature too, let us know the year, make, and model of the car you drive in the comments below. We'll update the list with additional cars as we find them.

Corrected on September 6: This story initially gave only one direction a key should be turned in the door lock. It is actually dependent on the car.