We’ve all been there. On a hot summer day, we return to our parked car after a few hours of shopping or a day at the office. Opening the door, we’re met by a burst of hot air that makes us feel like we’re about to melt. There’s nothing to do but get in the car and hope the air conditioner kicks in… fast!
While there’s not much you can do about the weather, there are a few things you can do to offset the way it affects the interior of your car.
1. Park in a shaded area
Or, if possible, in a garage. Having the sun beat down on your car directly will cause the temperature to rise quickly. According to Carmax.com, it’s not just comfort to be concerned about – the sun’s rays can also do some serious damage to the interior of your car, causing the leather to become brittle and fading or cracking your dash.
2. Try tinting
Tinted windows can keep your car cooler, and they also help protect the interior from sun damage.
3. Use a sun shade
Keeping a sun shade in the car is helpful because you can’t always guarantee that you’ll find a shaded or covered area to park in. These UV heat shields will keep the interior from getting super-hot, plus it protects your interior from the damaging effects of the sun. You might even consider getting a custom-made sun screen that is designed to fit your make and model of car. These special shades can be more effective at keeping all of the rays out.
4. Get rid of the hot air
Closed windows trap hot air, and the glass serves as a conductor that helps heat up the enclosed space. Leave your windows open slightly so the air can escape – and if you have a sunroof, crack that, too. Make sure the opening is not large enough for someone to reach through. If you leave your windows cracked, remember to keep an eye on the weather – one sudden summer storm could lead to a soggy interior.
5. Start at the bottom
Most people get in the car and turn the upper vents on “high” to get the air flowing. But you’re actually better off directing the air through the floor vents. Hot air rises, so switch to the bottom vents and put your blower on the maximum setting to push that air out. Then, once the car begins cooling, you can open the upper vents again.
6. Use the fresh air setting on your A/C
Using the re-circulation setting means you’re just moving that hot, trapped air around your vehicle, so that’s something you want to use after your car has had the chance to cool down. Give it 10 minutes or so, then switch over.
Safety Tip: Never leave a pet or a child in a car in the summertime, even if it’s just for a few minutes and you have cooled the car. Temperatures can rise quickly – studies have found that even on cool days, cars can heat up by more than 40 degrees within an hour – and about 80 percent of that increase comes in the first five minutes of turning off the car’s air conditioning.
All cars get hot in the summer sun and heat – but if your car still hasn’t cooled down after 5-10 minutes, it could be a sign of overheating. Learn what can cause your car to overheat and what you can do about it.