|People love warm and sunny climates - when there’s more daylight, it’s generally more fun to go out biking, swimming, and doing all sorts of high energy activities. Hot weather is also a great excuse to lounge around sipping cold drinks and soaking up the sun on your skin.
One thing that’s not pleasant about living in a place with constant warm weather is having to deal with heat in your car. Because of the greenhouse effect, a parked car on a hot day will passively absorb lots of radiation and trap it inside. When you get back and open the door, the blast of hot air will feel like an oven.
While longtime residents of warm-weather cities know to seek out shaded parking spots and generally avoid driving in the hottest hours of the day, sometimes you have no choice. Here are some tips and tricks you can use to keep your car cool.
Reduce the incoming light:
If you’re not used to living in a warm climate, this might not be the first thing that comes to mind - but reducing the amount of radiation your car absorbs is a great first step towards passive cooling. If you’ll be staying a while in a hot place like Phoenix, window tinting for your car ( https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/how-to-keep-your-car-cool-on-hot-days/ ) is a solid investment that will pay off in the long term. Not only will it keep a parked car cool, but it also reduces UV light while you drive, protecting your eyes and skin.
Sunshades are a beneficial accessory that can also cut down on radiation. A folding type sunshade with a reflective surface can reduce the interior temperature by around 15 degrees. You can put one up across the windshield or back window - or both - depending on the angle of sunlight. You could also cover the door windows if you wish; keep in mind, though, it can be a hassle putting up and taking down so many sun shades each time.
Parked cars get hot because trapped heat doesn’t escape. Rolling down the windows a crack, around 5 cm, can reduce temperatures by up to 25 degrees on a hot day. However, there are situations where you won’t feel comfortable leaving the windows open for safety reasons. A properly functioning air conditioning system helps, but there are some things you can do to improve the circulation process ( https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/how-to-keep-your-car-cool-on-hot-days/ ).
When you first open the door to a hot parked car, roll down the opposite window, then swing the door several times from open to shut, to force circulation, and get rid of initial heat quickly. Then get in and switch the fan on to its highest level and ‘fresh air’ setting, with the bottom vents open and top vents closed. Once the inside temperature stabilizes, you can switch to recirculation with the top vents open.
Lessen surface heat:
The heat of the various interior surfaces (https://www.popsci.com/keep-car-cool/ ) can be a major source of discomfort. You can purchase or improvise covers for your dashboard, steering wheel, and car seats. Even a simple beach towel will help you grip the wheel and sit down without feeling like you’re on fire.
Also, remember that dark surfaces absorb more heat than light ones. Having lightly colored interior surfaces helps; you can also use white or reflective material for your covers.
While you won’t be able to completely prevent your parked car from heating up on those otherwise lovely warm days, every little bit counts as you try to stay cool and hit the road.