Have you ever walked across a hot asphalt parking lot, and, with each step, dreaded the moment you have to open the car door and climb into an oven? That hot summer sun: we love it, we hate it. But who enjoys burning their hammies, their hands, and every other body part that makes contact with a car's interior on a hot summer day? The good news is that I am the "Sultan of Cool," bearing tips to help you keep your car cool during the summer.
Keep these tips in mind to beat the summer heat inside your car:
1. Parking Tips
The most obvious thing we can do to keep the car cool is park in the shade. If there is no shade, try to park so that the sun comes in the back window. At least that way the front dash, steering wheel, and seats don't get as hot.
2. Vent the Windows
Another technique I've used is to crack the windows about a half-inch to allow some airflow. My daughter uses side vent shades on the backseat windows. They look a little tacky, but they keep the sun off the backseat; and when her kids are riding in their car seats, it keeps the sun off them, protecting them from UV rays as well as the heat.
3. Don't Be Afraid to Blast the A/C
Once you enter that hot car, turn on the air conditioner and open your windows a couple of inches. Some people think they have to run the car for a while (to warm up the engine) before turning on the air conditioning (increasing the load). There is no truth to this. Start the car, open the windows, and turn the air conditioning on high. This will efficiently lower the interior temperatures because the cool air produced will displace the hot air, pushing it out the windows. As soon as it's cooled off, close the windows.
4. Shield Your Windows
A car sitting in a parking lot all day can reach temperatures well over 100 degrees F. There are several companies that make windshield shields that block out the sun's rays. Not only do they lower interior temperatures, but they also stop the UV rays from damaging dashboards and fading fabrics. A cheaper alternative is to use a common household item. A friend of mine keeps a white towel in her car and throws it over the dash/steering wheel. The white reflects the light and helps reduce the heat somewhat.
If you want to spend the bucks and really lower interior temperatures, PPG has just released its Sungate EP automotive glass windshield which they claim significantly reduces the transmission of solar energy, keeping the interior cool and improving fuel economy. The new technology employs a glazing process built into the glass of the Sungate windshields, which reduces front seat temperatures 27 degrees F and air-breath temperatures 16 degrees F. Since air-conditioner workload decreases, so does fuel consumption and carbon-dioxide emissions, according to PPG. Many new cars feature UV blocking of some sort, so the chances are that you've likely already seen or driven a car with a UV-blocking window.
5. Tint Your Windows
Window tinting is very effective in lowering interior temperatures. However, there are different rules regulating window tinting for every state. Some states prohibit tinting of the front windows so police officers can see into a vehicle during a traffic stop. Other states allow tinting, but the degree of tinting is defined, which varies from state to state. So before having your vehicle's windows tinted, check with your state DMV to make sure you don't break any laws.
6. Car Shoppers, Keep This in Mind
For those of you in the market for a car, there are two important things you can keep in mind as you purchase your next vehicle. We recommend drivers in southern states choose cloth interiors rather than leather. Leather tends to absorb heat and thus it gets much hotter in the summertime (it also gets colder in winter). A second (but more expensive) option is to opt for air-conditioned seats if you're buying a luxury car. In these cars and trucks, small refrigerant units are built into the seats. When activated, they circulate cooled air up through the seat, keeping your underside quite cool, dehumidified, and downright comfortable.
Submit your questions about car maintenance to Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org
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