Staying cool is one of the most important things these days. OK, there are more important things, but it would be pressing to find someone who won't agree that getting into a hot car is highly inconvenient. Even dangerous [painful]. Including vehicle maintenance for summer, how to keep your car cool is a popular question during these hot Colorado summer months. Completely avoiding a vehicle from getting hot may be close-to-impossible but a few thoughtful actions could really make the difference between roasting alive and actually beating the heat.
1. Cover your hot bits
The initial shock (or injury) of getting into a hot car is oftentimes caused by infamous areas that end up burning hot--the door handles, leather seats, steering wheel, seat belt buckles and gearshift. To avoid getting burned, all you need is to do is simply cover these areas with fabric. Certain materials hold heat more than others; the hottest being metal, leather and plastic (especially black or dark-in-color). So covering them with material that insulates them from the sun will prevent them from becoming dangerously hot. Most any fabric will do--try a blanket, towel or scarf, and drape it over problematic areas. Think fabric think cool.
2. Park strategically
Common knowledge and observation proves that shaded areas are cooler than areas that are in direct sunlight. Parking in the garage, or under a car cover or tree, greatly decreases the internal temperature of the vehicle’s cabin throughout the day.
If a garage is not available and you must work with whatever shade you can find, consider being an extra strategic parker as doing so could significantly limit your car’s heat exposure throughout the entire day; and possibly even keep your car cooler than it would have been in a garage. The two things to consider here are air flow and shade.
Keep two or more (the more the merrier) windows cracked and the vents open to promote optimal circulation throughout the cab. If your vehicle has the circulation setting, make sure to set the switch so that fresh air is being brought into the cab from outside rather than being circulated within the cab. This combined with open windows will provide optimum air flow.
Hot tip: You’ll want to set the switch back to cab circulating when you’re running the A/C! This will allow your vehicle to run more efficiently by using relatively cooled air from your cabin rather than the hot air from outside. Ultimately this saves gas by by keeping the engine cooler and not working as hard.
Things stay significantly cooler in the shade than in direct sunlight. This is especially true for materials like metal and plastic. Just try touching your backyard grill that has been sitting in the sun all day--just kidding, don’t do that! But really, any and everything you can do to keep your vehicle all or mostly in the shade for as much of the day as possible, the better. To really maximize your shade exposure, it may take some work on your part. Remember:
- Ensure all windows and vents are open
- Go outside and re-park your car throughout the day depending on the weather and where the sun is in the sky!
3. Keep your tires properly inflated
How tires are inflated affects how they wear. Tires that are unevenly inflated will result in uneven and premature tire wear.
Outside temperature, on the road and in the air, affects tire pressure. Heat makes tires expand and underinflated tires create more friction and therefore more heat. An underinflated tire in the summer will feel more hot to touch than a properly inflated tire. This heat causes premature wear on the tire and also, indirectly, makes your car’s cabin hotter!
While it may seem like a stretch, less friction means a cooler car overall. Also, you’ll do yourself a huge favor extending the life of your tires by keeping them properly inflated throughout the summer. Check your owner’s manual or the sticker inside the driver door to tell you what to set your tire pressure to. And be sure to check and adjust the pressure monthly.
Whether you don’t want to be a sweaty mess for your upcoming date or have your mind full with thoughts of damning heat, it may take some unconventional measures to keep your car cool this summer. But it may be worth it, because ultimately, keeping your car cool will help you keep your cool.