You know the situation all too well: you get into your car after it’s been parked in the summer heat and the seats and steering wheel are almost too hot to touch. The interior of a car parked in the sun can reach 140º very quickly. Here are seven tips to beat the heat and prolong the life your car’s interior:
1. Cover the steering wheel with a fabric cover to save your hands from burning.
2. Keep towels in your car and lay them on leather or vinyl seats, which can get extremely hot in the summer.
3. After parking, put sun-blocking visors against the inside of your windshield and back window to help keep out the sun.
4. Consider using stick-on window shades or tinting.
5. Of course, you know to park in the shade. But 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.
6. Open the vehicle’s doors and let the interior cool for a few minutes before entering.
7. Once you enter a hot car, turn the air conditioning to high and open your windows a couple of inches. 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 down, close the windows.
Remember: Don’t Leave Children or Pets in Hot, Parked Cars
Kids or pets and hot cars don’t mix. Keep these six tips in mind this summer:
1. Never leave your child or pet alone in a vehicle–even with the windows down–a vehicle’s interior can heat up quickly to dangerous temperatures.
2. Do not leave your children in a running vehicle with the air conditioner on even for a few minutes; your child may accidentally put the car into drive or even get caught in a closing power window.
3. Cover metal and plastic parts on seat belts and child safety seats to prevent burns.
4. Make sure to check the temperature of the car seat before buckling your children in the car. Skin that touches a car seat surface over 180º can be severely burned in 1 second.
5. Make a habit of looking in the vehicle–front and back–before locking the door and walking away.
6. Dogs are especially vulnerable to heat-related illness because they can only cool off by panting and through the pads in their feet. Leaving the window open will not keep the car significantly cool enough to prevent the heat building to an unbearable level.