There’s so much to love about summer. It’s the time to enjoy the beach, the pool, a summer road trip, time off, etc. However, for car owners, summer weather can cause the interior of your car to become uncomfortably hot. Cranking the ac is one solution, but that can slowly eat away at your fuel supply over time. Instead, keep your car cool and your passengers comfy with these budget-friendly summer tips.
How to Cool Down Your Car’s Interior
Try one or more of these ideas to cool down your car:
- Use sunshades and window visors. These affordable tools are easy to find online or at your local car accessory shop. Keep these in your car and set them up anytime you need to exit your vehicle for a few minutes, especially if you’re parked in the sun. You can also use a sunshade in your rear window for additional coverage.
- Crack your windows. Slightly crack your windows while driving to increase ventilation throughout the car. You don’t need to roll your windows all the way down—just leave a space that’s smaller than your arm. Remember to roll your windows back up when you’re parked to prevent vandalism.
- Cover your steering wheel. If your steering wheel gets overheated, invest in a steering wheel cover or throw a towel over it when you’re parked.
- Park in your garage. This may seem like an obvious tip. However, not all homeowners use their garage for its intended purpose. Leave your car in the garage instead of your driveway to keep things cool.
- Park in the shade. If you’re away from home and can’t access your garage, parking in the shade can keep your car cool. A covered building, such as a parking garage, is your best bet. If that’s not available, park underneath a shady tree or building. A shady parking spot might be worth a slightly longer walk to your destination.
- Use seat covers. Vinyl and leather seats can get warm as they absorb the sun’s rays. Place some cooling cushions or a blanket over your car seats to prevent them from getting too hot. You can store the spare blankets in the trunk or underneath the car’s floor.
- Service your air conditioner. Properly tuned AC can efficiently cool off your car. If you think your car’s interior is getting too warm even with the AC on, you may need to get it looked at.
What to Do If Your Car Overheats
Cars are like tiny greenhouses: the sun comes in through the car’s windows and absorbs into the car’s interior. Use the above tips to keep your car cool during the summer heat. However, if your car gets overheated despite your best efforts, that could indicate a problem with your cooling systems. You may need to get them looked at to avoid damaging your engine. In the meantime, take these steps to cool down your car until help arrives:
- If it’s safe, pull over to the side of the road, park your car and turn off the engine. Give your car at least 10 minutes to cool down.
- Open the hood of your car to release any excess heat.
- After 10 minutes, turn your car’s ignition to the first position—don’t fully start the engine—and check that the temperature gauge and fluid levels are within a normal range.
- Start the engine again.
- If your engine makes unusual sounds or doesn’t start, call roadside assistance to tow your vehicle. This may seem like a nuisance, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry! Your local mechanic can assess the situation to see what’s wrong.
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