How To Keep A Parked Car Cool

It’s that time of year again

If you didn’t already know, summer officially kicks off on June 21st.  But the recent temperatures and glorious sunshine have persuaded us that its already here.  So, here is some sound advice on how to cool down your car when its parked.

Especially if you have a black one with black leather seats that become sticky with the heat!

We are entering the time of year when everyone is always out and about, from taking long car journeys to popping frequently to the shops.  Lots of summer hobbies and projects do, after all, require a car.

Roast, bake, broil and grill

The inside of cars literally cook inside when they sit, unused, with the sun beating down on them.  Various studies by leading universities have arrived at one and the same conclusion.  Temperatures in cars rise around 20 degrees Celsius when parked in the sun for just one hour.

To put that in perspective, if it’s already an uncomfortable 35°C outside, your car’s interior temperature with the windows up and air conditioning off will be a life-threatening 55°C.  That’s certainly high enough to  be able to fry an egg inside!

Car in heat

It doesn’t happen to Brits

Temperatures never get that high in the UK, we hear you cry.  They do, with the record being 38.5°C, recorded in Faversham, Kent on 10 August 2003.  June through September have historically seen temperatures above 35°C at times in the past in the UK.

Worldwide, global warming has resulted in 17 of the 18 warmest years in recorded history occurring since 2001 so the chances are that new records will continue to be set.  With people increasingly globetrotting around on holiday, remember not to let your guard down when renting cars overseas.

Be alert

Even with windows cracked open, never leave any living thing in a car when it is not being driven when the sun’s out.  The consequences could be dire.  In fact, if you do it, a law enforcement officer would soon have your attention, because it is illegal.

Sadly, every year worldwide dozens of children pass away from hyperthermia, when the body heats up to around 40 degrees Celsius, when they are left in vehicles.

Dog in car trying to keep cool

5 hot tips to stay cool

So, keep the following ideas in mind this summer if you want to dodge the misery of clambering into what feels like a cauldron.

1. Do the most obvious thing first

Air-conditioning is obviously not an option when your car is turned off, so you should roll down your windows a little so that cooler air can get in.  However, be wary of crooks who might want to prise your door open.  Also, wind or traffic might blow in rainwater or dust clouds.  Neither is easy or pleasant to clear up.

2. Aim for the dark side

It might seem obvious but seek out shady or covered parking spots.  Take the opportunity at your destination that the foot journey presents to clock up some exercise and also catch a few rays, both of which will lift your spirits.

Cars parked in cool shade

3. Deflect the troublemaker

Send back the sun’s glare, the UVs that sun cream companies scare us with, in the direction they came from by using reflective, heat-absorbing sun shades for the car’s windows.  Since they come in a variety of sizes, colours, patterns and images, have some fun extending the personality of your car.  They fold up easily so you can store them in the boot.

4. Cover everything up

Throw towels or sheets liberally over any part of the interior that you either touch or don’t want sun-scarred.  If you don’t and you’re wearing beach attire, it could be extremely painful.  Which is not cool.

5. Use the sun’s own energy against it

Solar power is all the rage at the moment and that extends to interior car fans.  Perched on a slightly open window, they churn away while your car sits restfully, all locked up.  They aren’t exactly turbines, but they circulate air well enough in tight spaces to achieve meaningful reductions in car interior temperatures and keep it cool.

So, there you have it

There are various car checks you can do to ensure you’re not left stranded on the hard shoulder this summer. Most garages will even conduct a free summer health check for you! In particular, your car’s air-conditioning needs servicing every two to three years to ensure it works efficiently. Compare garage ratings and prices for air-conditioning servicing here.

Enjoy the summer, stay cool!


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Libby Simmons

Libby has been working for BookMyGarage writing articles, creating newsletters and handling the social media platforms. She works closely with ex-mechanics and subject matter experts to provide weekly blogs: essential advice on how to care for your car, need-to-know news and developments in the motoring world and helpful tips on how to cut the costs of running and maintaining your car.