9 Ways to Stay Cool This Summer
As road trip season begins, take these tips to heart to stay cool and comfortable
One of my favourite activities is the spontaneous road trip, especially in the summer when the roads are dry and I can stop along the way, get out of my car and explore. The only draw back to summertime road trips is the blast of painfully uncomfortable heat that hits me whenever I have to get into my car after it’s been parked in the sun for any amount of time. Not only does the heat transform every surface into a potential hazard (scalds, burns, too-hot-to-touch) but UV rays will eventually damage my car’s interior. To stay cool and get more out of my summer I begin by using these tips, especially while I am parked:
1. Have window tint installed
The thing about a car in summer is that it acts exactly the same way a greenhouse does. Solar rays easily pass through the windows and warm up your vehicle’s interior, and the heat given off by your upholstery and furnishings is known as “radiant” heat. These radiant heat waves are longer wavelengths than the solar rays you started with, so they do not easily pass through the glass to escape. This “greenhouse effect” causes your interior to get hotter and hotter the longer you keep it in the sun. If you opt for a simple shoulders back window tint, you get heat reduction and increased comfort for pennies on the dollar.
2. Use a dash cover
A fabric or upholstered dash cover is easy to store in your trunk, and will protect your cars interior from the heat, making the environment more comfortable. Folding dash covers are inexpensive and will block much of the sunlight from getting through the windshield, vinyl from cracking and fading due to sun damage.
3. Cover your steering wheel with a hand towel
This trick is low tech, and I’ve used this many times at an impromptu stop. Covering up your steering wheel with a towel will prevent your steering wheel from becoming a burn station. There’s nothing worse than getting into a hot car, and not being able to drive the car into some shade, because the wheel is too hot to touch.
4. Park in a shady area
This is obvious, but whenever possible, park in a shady area. If you’re going to be somewhere for an extended period of time, it’s a reasonable trade to park a bit further out of your way and accept the walk than it is to park in the full blast of the sun.
5. Keep your precious possessions out of the sun
As your car’s interior heats up, you risk melting or irreversibly damaging items like CDs, electronic devices, makeup, or snacks. These items are best beneath a seat, in the trunk or glove box. The towel trick also works to protect these things from some of the heat.
6. Park in a garage when possible
If you have a garage at home, use it. When you’re in town, it’s sometimes worth the extra few dollars to take advantage of public garage parking. Additionally, most garages have security, so your car will stay cool- and safe.
7. Keep windows slightly cracked
Ventilating your car is a sure-fire way to lower the inside temperature on a hot day. If you’re out in public, you don’t want to leave your windows all the way open, so crack all of your windows a bit for cross-ventilation and check to make sure that you can’t fit an arm inside.
8. Purchase a solar-powered fan
This handy invention keeps your car cool on those hot days, especially when paired with cracked windows, a solar-powered fan creates circulation and air movement, which lowers the interior temperature of your car.
9. Throw blankets over your seats
Preventing the discomfort of sitting on a vinyl or leather seat after it’s baked in direct sunlight is worth the minor inconvenience of touting a towel or blanket around. After you’ve parked, throw a blanket over the drivers seat, protecting it from direct sunlight, then when you’re ready to go, simply store the blanket under the seat.