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Keeping Cool in the Summer: 5 Car Tips To Prevent Meltdown

Land Rover Range Rover Interior

Hot temperatures can make your car’s interior oppressively hot and, if left unchecked, can prove dangerous to people and pets alike. Cabin temperatures can climb to as high as 150 degrees Fahrenheit and can injure occupants, damage your dashboard and fade your seats.

Keeping cool in the summer is important. Here are some ways to chill out in your car when the temperatures are through the roof:

1. Park Away From Direct SunlightThe hot sun beats down on Ford F-150 pickup truck.

It should be obvious that shaded areas are much cooler than direct sunlight. If at all possible, leave your car under a canopy of trees. Don’t worry about anything nature has to dish out — you can clear off leaves and bird droppings later. If you have access to a garage or covered parking facility while at work, consider using it. Opt for any covering available; move your car at lunchtime to take advantage of new shaded areas created by shifting shadows.

2. Cover Your Dashboard

It doesn’t take much to raise your car’s cabin temperature above 100 degrees. Although the air temperature may read 65 degrees, your car’s interior can trap and amplify heat. Use a window visor or sun shade to cover the dashboard. It may also be worthwhile to invest in rear window sunshades. If you’re parked in a safe area and there is no threat of rain, you can leave your windows cracked open a bit to allow air to circulate.

3. Use a Car Cover

Direct exposure to sun can fade your leather, crack your dashboard and cause your metal seat belt clasps to become extremely hot to the touch. It can also fade your paint and ruin its sheen faster than bird droppings, dirt or debris. If you’re looking for complete protection for your car’s finish, then only a car cover will do. Choose one that is UV resistant and made out of nonabrasive material. It should also be lightweight and easy to store. A high-quality car cover will help you master the art of keeping cool in the summer in no time.

4. Make Use of Towels and Blankets

If a car cover is not practical and you’re unable to leave your windows open, try to cover your car’s interior as much as possible. Use a spare towel or blanket to cover your steering wheel and dash when you’re away. When you come back to your car, you won’t have to wait for your wheel to cool down.

5. Stow Away Belongings

It’s never a good idea to leave your personal items exposed when parking your car. Extreme temperatures and humidity can destroy electronics, such as laptops, smartphones and tablets, so you should make sure all electronics are removed entirely from your vehicle. Other items, such as your gym bag, sporting equipment or your children’s toys, should be stowed in a storage compartment, in the trunk or under the hatchback floor and out of harm’s way.

Getting Back In

Even with your car protected while you’re away, it’s still, in all likelihood, hotter inside than it is outside. Keeping cool in the summer is even easier if you can start your car remotely, just make sure to set the air conditioning to maximum cool. Within 10 minutes, your car’s interior should be comfortable and ready to drive.

Check out all the heating & cooling parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on keeping cool in the summer, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Image courtesy of Matthew C. Keegan


Matthew C. Keegan View All

Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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