How to Cool Your Car Down in Hot Weather

It’s a sweltering day and you hurry to your car, thinking you can escape the heat. But when you open the door of the car, which had been parked under the sun, a cloud of hot air envelops you.

Ever wondered why your car transforms into an oven in hot weather? Here’s a simplified science lesson: Short wavelengths from sunlight easily pass through glass and are absorbed by the upholstery, dashboard, carpet, etc; these interior surfaces store this energy and release it back into the cabin as long wavelengths, which cannot as easily escape through the glass. Think greenhouse effect.

But time waits for no man, and we must get into that car and get going, hot or not. So, here are a few simple tips to cool down your parked car in hot, hot weather.

1) Keep sunlight out

In the first place, let’s keep sunlight out of the car. And if you cannot afford to get permanent window tints, there is a simple solution in the form of sunshades—for the windshield, side and even rear windows.

A car umbrella, anyone? Image: Lanmodo

A research by the Florida Solar Energy Center found that best cooling results were achieved by, counterintuitively, turning the reflective surface inwards.

2) Open your windows a crack

Nowadays, it’s not so easy to hotwire a car. So, unless you keep valuables in your car (which you shouldn’t), you can leave your windows partially open whilst parked. This will prevent heat from getting trapped inside.

Don’t leave your pet in the car without leaving the window open too.

3) Spread a towel on the inside

Sometimes, the steering wheel gets too hot to handle. Throw a towel over the steering wheel and seat, and remove it before getting behind the wheel.


4) “Fan-the-door” hack

When you open the driver’s door, lower the passenger side window and fan the driver’s door. This seemingly silly manoeuvre will help circulate the air circulate and cool the interior faster. Someone actually did the research.

5) Maintain the air-con

If you’ve been putting off getting the air-con serviced or regas, which you should every year or two, perhaps the hot weather will be the nudge you need. A well-maintained air-con system is capable of cooling better—common sense, really.

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