Tips for Keeping Your Car Cool in the Summer
Although summer may be wrapping up, those hot temps are not going away anytime soon. August is one of the hottest months of the year. In some regions of the U.S., it is the hottest month. Some parts of the country experience triple-digit temps consistently in late-summer. And just like heat can zap energy from many of us, the same is true for our vehicles. Driving in the summer heat can be hard on cars, but there are ways to keep them cool.
Car Care Tips to Ensure Your Ride can Handle the Heat
Overheated engines, overworked ACs, shredded tires, dead batteries – yep, it’s summer. High temps can be hard on a car, especially when the temps reach above 85 degrees. So, make sure you’re regularly performing maintenance checks on your vehicles to ensure their peak performance during the dog days of summer. Follow these suggestions to help your ride beat the heat.
Check your oil and coolant levels. Make sure the oil in your vehicle is fresh and the coolant is topped off. Engine coolant, also called antifreeze, is vital to a car’s performance when it’s hot outside because it helps to keep your car’s engine from overheating by regulating your engine during extreme temperatures. Checking the levels of the coolant is relatively easy, just lift the hood, find the coolant tank and make sure that the coolant level is between the minimum and maximum markers. If the coolant needs to be filled, you can do it yourself, but remember (and this is very important, never to open the radiator cap or coolant tank lid when the car’s engine is hot.
Don’t overwork your AC. When it’s hot outside, the air conditioning system gets a big workout. To help it run the most efficiently, check the AC system and replace the cabin air filters. This will help keep your AC running smoothly and you, nice and cool.
Pro Tip – It may seem counterintuitive, but your AC works most efficiently when you’re driving, so avoid sitting in your running car while also running your AC in an attempt to pre-cool your car. Pre-cooling wastes time, gas and is not good for the AC system. The faster your engine runs, the faster your AC compressor does too, allowing your car’s AC system to cool more effectively.
Check the tire pressure. Tires tend to expand in the heat, in fact some can inflate two to three extra pounds leading to over inflation, which can cause tires to blow out. Make sure to check your tire pressure and inflate your tires after they have been sitting for a while and have had a chance to cool. Use any analog or digital gauge to check the tire’s pressure. You can find the recommended tire pressure specs in the vehicle’s manual.
Measure your tire tread. Tires, while they are made with heat, can also be destroyed with heat. Rising temps can make the tire rubber expand which can lead to shredded tires. Summertime is road-tripping time for many, so before you hit the road make sure your tires have enough tread to counter summer’s high temperatures.
Don’t forget the car’s battery. When it’s really hot outside, your vehicle’s battery can take a hit. High temps can lead to excessive fluid evaporation and decrease the battery’s charge and reduce the overall life of the battery. If your battery is one that requires liquid top-offs, adding distilled water when needed can be helpful.
Wash, wax and apply some UV protectant car polish. Believe it or not, a washed and waxed car can actually help to keep your vehicle cool too. How? A clean car not only looks nice, but when free from dirt and grime, it will absorb less heat which means a cooler car. When a car is free of debris, it has a better chance of reflecting those UV sun rays. We also recommend waxing and polishing your ride with a UV protectant car wax or polish which will go a long way in protecting your vehicle’s paint job from sun damage.
Tips for Keeping Your Ride Cool
Did you know that temperatures inside a vehicle can be up to 40 degrees hotter than temps outside and that it only takes a short time (like one hour) to rise to this level?
Do you know why cars get so hot in the summer?
It has to do with the greenhouse effect. The sunlight’s sun rays can pass through windows pretty easily but getting out is not so easy. Once those sun rays are in your car, they bounce around and touch everything, converting themselves into longer infrared wavelengths that can’t pass through your car windows as easily to get out. So, what happens? You got it, they get trapped inside your car and cause that stagnant heat inside to heat up.
Here are some simple tips to keep both you and your vehicle comfortable in the summer heat. Keeping your car cooler means that when you return to your car and get ready to drive away, it will take less time to get the car back to a more moderate temp.
Park in garages. When possible, we recommend keeping your ride covered by parking in a garage. Parking your car away from direct sunlight will help maintain the paint job and protect the vehicle’s interior from fading or cracking. And parking under shelter will keep it safe from mother nature too, like those afternoon rain and thunder showers that can roll in.
Seek out the shady spots. This may seem pretty obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. Make the extra effort to seek out those shady parking spots. We understand that sometimes these spots may not be as convenient. We know that the shade will inevitably move, but we still think it’s worth it to seek the shade, especially if you’re going to be parked for a longer period of time. Plus, a longer walk to get to your destination counts as more steps for all you step counters.
Use a sunshade, window visor or solar shield. They are an easy solution that can reduce the temperature inside your car by several degrees. These shades provide less direct impact from the sun because they reflect the UV sun rays. It’s a tried-and-true method that will keep your ride cooler when the temps outside heat up. Get into the habit of putting one up if you’re going to be leaving your car for more than just a few minutes. And don’t forget about your rear window; a sunshade on the back will keep the inside “cooler” for even longer.
Crack the windows just a bit to cool it off. Studies have shown that opening a window just two inches can reduce the temp inside a car up to 30 degrees on a 98-degree day! Be careful not to open the windows too much, so make sure a person’s arm can’t fit through the window. Up to 2 inches is sufficient and enough to provide airflow and promote cooling.
Cover leather and vinyl by using a towel or blanket to shield yours seats, steering wheel and gear selector from the sun. Coming back to a hot car is no fun and having to sit on an extra hot seat is the worst, especially if you’re wearing shorts. When you’re done using the blankets or towels, you can place them on your floorboard or even in your trunk.
Get a solar power fan to keep temps cool. Yep, you read it correctly – a solar powered fan may sound silly, but when coupled with some of the tips mentioned, like cracking the windows and using a sunshade, a solar powered fan will increase airflow, moving that hot air around and out, and therefore reducing the car’s overall temperature.
Invest in tinted windows. Tinted windows not only block harmful UV rays, but they can also help reduce the solar heat in your vehicle. Window tinting can block anywhere from 35 to 65 percent of the solar heat that builds up in a car.
Some other tips and hacks include:
- Placing a towel over the steering wheel is a good idea to help minimize the heat factor.
- Turning your steering wheel about 180 degrees is a smart tip that will ensure the top part of the wheel (which is the part we normally use to drive) isn’t blistering hot.
- Closing your sunroof cover if you have one – every bit helps.
- Considering a dash cover to help protect your dashboard from excessive sun. A dash cover can go a long way in preventing fading and cracking.
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