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How to Keep Your Car Cool During the Summer

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We’ve all had that forgetful moment of parking our car in the sun, then coming back to find the inside hotter than a sauna.

Kramer Sauna Getting in your car during the summer

You can barely touch the steering wheel without hearing the sizzle of your skin melting.

You can’t breathe without also inhaling a big gust of thick, suffocating heat.

And if you have leather seats? Good luck, you sweet, sweet soul.

When sunlight gets trapped inside your vehicle, it can cause your car to get as hot as over 120 ℉ when it’s only 80℉ outside! And having a blistering car isn’t just uncomfortable - excessive or extreme heat can cause damage to your vehicle and decrease its lifespan.

But you don’t always have to feel like you’re taking a journey to the center of the Earth every time you hop into your car. Here are some of our best tips for keeping your car cool during the summer.

Get smart coverage

Sunshades and UV heat shields (those aluminum-foil looking things that you see stretched across windshields in every grocery store parking lot in a suburbia near you) are great investments for when you can’t find shade.

Using sunshades will keep your car cool

These will help reduce interior temperature while blocking harmful sun rays. You can often get custom-made sun shades that will fit the make and model of your car, thus providing better coverage and protection.

Also cover your seats with blankets, seat covers or towels. Tint your windows for added protection (just be sure to check your state and local laws on legal tints!).

Park wisely

Let me throw you a little shade Get yourself some shade but the tree kind not the insult kind

If you have absolutely no shade coverage with you, try to park facing away from the sun, in the shade or in a garage. If you’re going to be parked for a long time, try parking in a spot that will get shade later in the day, because the sun will move across the sky.

Allow ventilation

Wonder Woman smashing window Crack open your window to allow ventilation (don't smash it)

Leave a small crack in your windows. This allows heat to escape and ventilation inside your vehicle.

Get a solar-powered fan

Solar-powered fans are powered by the sun, so you don’t have to worry about recharging batteries. These nifty devices will keep your interior stable and comfortable (and even helps eliminate odors from pets and tobacco).

Returning to your car

It goes without say, but if your car has been parked for a long time, be sure to open all the doors and let it air out before getting in.

Open your Car door to help ventilate air

A common but inefficient cooling technique people do is to roll down all of their windows when starting their car. There’s a faster way: Heat rises, so it’s actually better to push the hot air out from the bottom (not the top) to help cool down the vehicle as quickly as possible. Here’s how:

  • Roll down your windows
  • Adjust fan to max
  • Close the upper vents so that only the bottom vents closest to the ground are functioning
  • Air will push from the bottom to the top. This allows hot air to escape through the open windows
  • Once your car returns to a normal temperature, switch to the upper vents for AC while driving

Finally, here’s a nifty tip from Reddit:

  • Open your driver side door
  • Turn up the AC
  • Roll down only the front passenger side window
  • Close and open the driver door a few times to push the hot air out through the passenger side window
Krista Doyle