2015 Kia K900: Climate Control Recirc Button Woes
January 20, 2015
You'd need smell-o-vision to know what was going on inside our 2015 Kia K900 sedan at the moment captured in the above image. The noxious reek was intense as we drove past a massive dairy farm on Interstate 5 on the way home from Oregon.
But the K900's Recirc button offered no relief. The methane and manure funk stayed with us for miles as if the car remained in fresh mode. The same thing happened at other times on the trip, too, when the cabin air recirculation mode did a poor job of shutting out the offending smells of decrepit diesels and overly-rich carbureted 60s classics.
And that's only half of it.
On several occasions the K900 refused to go into Recirc mode at all. Not always, mind you. It generally had to be cold outside, but I'm not sure of the exact recipe. The same thing happened a couple of times in warmer weather when I drove it to Monterey, California last summer.
I'd push the button when the system was in Auto mode, but instead of Recirc I'd get a flashing "Auto" indication that seemed to say "Can't you read? This is Auto mode. You're not in charge."
I have never had a car flat-out reject my request for Recirc unless it was in a full Defrost mode. Even then most systems will go along and pop out of Defrost or abandon Auto in order to give me the Recirc I asked for. But there was no windshield defrosting going on here. The system was delivering heat through its floor vents. It shouldn't have balked.
My wife eventually discovered a workaround at times like this. We had to shut down the K900's climate control system using the Off button and then turn it back on with the A/C button to make sure it wasn't in any sort of Auto configuration. Only then could we successfully select Recirc mode. In fact, this is the exact sequence we went through before my wife snapped the above picture as we gagged our way past the dairy farm.
Since the smell never let up, I wonder if the system still thought it knew better than us, turning on the Recirc light just to shut us up. It certainly smelled like that was the case.
I really don't care if there's a theoretical chance of windshield fogging due to specific meteorological conditions or whatever. Sometimes a person simply doesn't want to smell cow poo.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 8,142 miles