High Society Kustom Garage

Stay Cool in Your Car: Battling Heat in a Warm Climate

Stay Cool in Your Car

Cars in warmer climates pose a challenge when it comes to staying cool and looking stylish.  The interior environment can be notoriously difficult, with various surface finishes within tight confines, all encased in a sleek metal and glass shell.  Cooling down a car is far more challenging than warming it up.

Rising Temperatures and Unbearable Conditions

When parked under direct sunlight on a warm day, the interior temperature of your car can quickly become unbearable and even dangerous.  In just under 20 minutes on a scorching day with an ambient temperature of 35°C, the inside temperature can skyrocket to 65°C.  Interior surfaces exposed to direct sunlight can reach an astonishing 95°C, depending on their material.

Limitations of Solutions

Unfortunately, there is no reliable permanent solution available to stay cool in your car.  While a quality ceramic window tint film can help by reducing incoming light, it is not sufficient to overcome the heat absorbed by the glass and other solid surfaces.  Traditional insulation methods are impractical due to limited space within vehicles, even in classic models. Furthermore, insulation, which slows heat transfer, would exacerbate the problem since the trapped heat inside the car would struggle to escape.

The Greenhouse Effect

On sunny days, your car’s interior will always be hotter than the outside temperature due to the glass acting as a greenhouse.  Visible light easily passes through glass windows, but once inside, the car’s surfaces absorb and store the energy.  These surfaces, such as the seats, console, dashboard, and parcel shelf, then radiate that energy as long, infrared wavelengths, which do not pass through glass as easily.  With still air inside the vehicle, the heat accumulates, turning the car into a sweltering space.  Insulating the vehicle further traps the heat, making it even warmer.

Tips for a More Comfortable Journey

To make your journey more comfortable, especially after parking under the sun, consider the following tips:

  1. Limit Cabin Heat: Prevent the cabin from getting excessively hot by allowing some airflow.  Leave the windows down a little to create an escape route for hot air.  This can lower the temperature inside the car to 50°C on a 35°C day, providing a 15-degree improvement.  However, be mindful of security concerns when opening the windows further.
  2. Enhance Sunlight Reflection: Supplement window tinting by using a windscreen sun shade.  This simple addition alone can reduce the inside temperature by up to 5 degrees.  If possible, shade the side glass as well to further improve the cooling effect.  Lowering the temperature of the steering wheel can also enhance safety and prevent accidents caused by hot surfaces.
  3. Protective Measures: Keep your seat, dashboard, and steering wheel from getting scorching hot by using affordable options such as beach towels or other covers.  Draping them over surfaces when you exit the car shields them from the sun.  Cloth seat covers can also protect your legs from hot vinyl or leather seats.
  4. Steering Wheel Trick: When parking, turn the steering wheel so that the top faces away from direct sunlight entering through the windows.  This positioning allows for a relatively cool spot to hold when you return to the vehicle.

Quick Cooling Method

Before getting into the car, you can employ a last-minute technique to expel some hot air and make the interior more comfortable:

  1. Open the driver-side door.
  2. Roll down the passenger window.

“Fan” the driver’s door by opening and closing it several times in quick succession.

  1. This process rapidly circulates the air, making the interior more bearable.  Starting the air conditioner afterward will provide further relief.  This method has been found to work even faster than driving with the windows down.  Sure, you’ll look a little silly, but it’s a small sacrifice compared to melting in the driver’s seat.

Cooler than it could be

While there is no permanent solution to completely prevent a car’s interior from heating up in hot climates, implementing these tips can make your journey more comfortable and mitigate the effects of extreme heat.  By being proactive and taking precautions, you can enjoy a cooler and safer driving experience, even after leaving your vehicle parked in the sun.

Want more tips to enjoy the drive?  Here they are.

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