How to Keep Your Car Interior Cool in the Summer

by Alison Lakin
Road trips, longer days, and warmer weather are just a few of the joys of summertime. But having the sun high in the sky most days can mean scorching car seats, muggy interiors, and potential damage to your vehicle's surfaces when it's exposed to hours of sunlight at a time. It doesn't have to be this way! Here are a few ways to stave off the dreaded summer hot seat.

Buy a Sunshade (or Two)

This is easily the most inexpensive and effective item to use in your fight against the sunshine. A good sunshade reflects the sun's rays away from the interior of your car, keeping the heat level down. There are also sunshades with suction cups available for rear passenger windows. Position the shade along the window where the sun is most directly shining to receive maximum protection. If your car is going to regularly sit in the sun for a couple hours at a time, getting an additional sunshade might be worth the extra bucks too. You'll be able to place the second one along the windows that will get sun later in the day.
 

Splurge on More Permanent Window Coverings

Window tinting or stick-on tinting can also reduce the sun’s intensity before it reaches the interior of a car, protecting it from the effects of the heat. If you do opt for window tinting, go ahead and spend a little extra cash to get it properly done by a professional. Good window tinting can actually add to the resale value of your vehicle.
 

Use a Towel

Keeping a towel or two in the vehicle isn't a bad idea. You can use it twofold: either over the seat and steering wheel while you're out of the car or when you return to protect yourself from that hot driver's seat.
 

Park in the Shade

This is easier said than done; we've spotted giant parking lots nearly empty save the coveted spots underneath the shade trees. In fact, any parking spot with an inch of shade can be hard to come by when the sun is high in the sky. Summer drivers are no fools. However, here's a trick: follow the sun. If you're going to be parked for a while, knowing the trajectory of the sun means you can park where the shade will be later in the day, at a time closer to when you'll be hopping into your vehicle. And make sure to park the front of your car away from the sun; that'll reduce the amount of direct sunlight those front seats get. 

Experience Instant Cool Down

Crank the air once you get into a hot car, but don't forget to open the windows as well. It may seem like warm outside air will just make things hotter, but actually you'll be allowing the even warmer air from inside the vehicle to escape while replacing it with the cool stuff from your A/C.
 
As much as the heat can take a toll on your car's interior, it's also rough on a vehicle's working parts. Head to your mechanic for routine summer maintenance, like a cooling system and fluid check, so that you'll not only stay cool, you'll stay safe.
 

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