Tips for Keeping Your Car Cool in Summer
If you are wondering how to keep your car cool during summer, there are plenty of simple things you can do. From maximizing your air conditioning to taking advantage of a shady spot when parking, the following tips can help you maintain a cooler vehicle on those hot and humid summer days.
Block Car Windows from the Sun
Cars can trap heat, causing the temperature inside them to quickly rise, says the National Weather Service. According to one test, a parked car’s temperature rose from 80 degrees to more than 94 degrees in about two minutes, and reached 123 degrees within an hour. A car can reach up to 200 degrees inside, according to Consumer Reports.
Reducing the amount of heat entering through your windows may help keep your car cooler, making it more comfortable when it’s time to take a ride. Here are some tips to help keep your car cool in the summer:
- Sun shades: Sun shades help block the direct rays coming into your vehicle, says Consumer Reports. This keeps the temperature slightly lower, which can help your car cool down more quickly once the vehicle is started.
- Tinted windows: A more expensive, yet constant way to block the sun, says Cars.com, is with window tinting. But before you take your car in to have the windows darkened, make sure you know your state’s laws, as some have restrictions on how much or which windows you can tint.
- Covered parking: If you don’t have tinted windows or a sun shade, a helpful alternative may simply be parking in the shade. Consumer Reports suggests looking for a shady spot or parking your car so the sun is hitting the rear window instead of the windshield. This may help keep the steering wheel and front seats slightly cooler.
- Cracked windows: Because windows hold in warm air, leaving them open slightly while parked will create slight airflow. If your vehicle has a sunroof, Cars.com says you can also crack that or use the vent feature if it’s not raining. For both windows and sunroofs, only leave them open slightly (less than an inch) to help minimize the possibility of theft.
Keep Your Car’s Seats Cooler
Scorching seats can cause discomfort or even burns. For this reason, you might consider purchasing a vehicle with cloth seats instead of leather. If you have leather seats, you may want to cover them with towels or use cloth seat covers to help keep them cooler during the summer, suggests Consumer Reports. Or, says Cars.com, purchase cooling gel covers or pads.
If it’s in your budget, you might also look into buying a vehicle with air-conditioned seats, which circulate cool air around your backside. Typically, this works by utilizing a porous mesh on the car seat so air can flow through it. Fans inside the seat produce air circulation, which is diffused to spread the cooling effect throughout the seat and through the mesh, cooling the seat’s surface.
Take Advantage of Air Conditioning
If your vehicle’s air conditioning isn’t functioning properly or you don’t use it in the most efficient way, it may take longer than you would like for your car to reach a comfortable temperature. To maximize your car’s cooling ability, turn the air conditioner on full blast as soon as you start driving and lower your back windows for 10 to 20 seconds, says Consumer Reports. This helps push hot air out as the cool air comes out of the vents. Once you’ve achieved your desired temperature, Cars.com says you should use the car’s air recirculating feature along with the air conditioning to maintain the coldest air.
Firestone Complete Auto Care suggests that there may not be a regular interval at which your air conditioning system should be professionally checked, but you may want to get it inspected if the air coming out of the vents doesn’t feel as cold as you remember. If the air coming out doesn’t feel cold, the Environmental Protection Agency says you may need your local auto mechanic to top off the refrigerant to recharge your system.
While you can’t change the weather, you can prepare your car for the hottest months of the year. Remember these tips this summer and enjoy a cooler car.
Originally published on July 8, 2015.