Is there anything worse than a hot, stuffy car in the summer? You may enjoy spending time outdoors during the summer months, but the heat and sun can make driving around intolerable, as your car may feel like an oven when you get in and take what feels like an eternity to cool down to a comfortable temperature.
Fortunately, 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.
Car windows can act like a greenhouse, holding in heat and sunlight. Even if it is only in the 60s outside, the direct sunlight through the windows can cause the interior temperature to increase to 110 degrees.
Knowing this, there are a few ways to help keep your car cool by reducing the amount of heat entering through your windows:
- Sun shades: Sun shades are a great investment because they block the direct rays coming into your vehicle. 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, 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, 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 minimize the possibility of theft.
Scorching seats can cause discomfort or even. For this reason, you might consider purchasing a vehicle with cloth seats instead of leather. 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. For those who already have leather but need a way to keep it cooler, purchase cooling gel covers or pads. Simply covering leather seats with towels can provide a bit on insulation between you and the hot seat.
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 on full blast as soon as you start the engine and slightly opening all of your windows until the air inside is cool. This helps to improve cooling efficiency as the hot air (which rises) will be pushed out of the windows 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.