Don’t get hot under the collar: keep your car cool in a heatwave with our top tips
Summer is a wonderful time to take road trips, drive with the windows down, and enjoy the warm weather. However, hot temperatures can quickly make the inside of your car feel like an oven, especially during a heatwave. If you’re not careful, the heat can cause damage to your car’s interior and even lead to mechanical problems, while also making the car a horrible, uncomfortable place to be. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep your car cool in a heatwave. Here are 10 tips to help you beat the heat and keep your car running smoothly.
Tips to Keep Your Car Cool in Hot Weather:
- Park in the shade
- Make your own shade
- Be strategic when setting off
- Crack the windows open
- Consider window tinting
- Cover your seats
- Use a cooling seat cushion
- Keep a water bottle in your car
- Service your air conditioning
- Drive during cooler hours
Park in the shade: Parking in the shade can help keep your car’s interior temperature cooler by blocking the sun’s rays. Do try to take into account the sun’s movement throughout the day when choosing a spot, though.
Make your own shade A sunshade can help protect your dashboard and steering wheel from the sun’s heat and prevent cracking and fading. It can also keep the steering wheel cooler, making it more pleasant to hold, while blocking the sun from coming through the windscreen will help the rest of the cabin stay cool, too.
Be strategic when setting off Set the air conditioning to max cold and max fan speed, and open your windows fully for the first minute you drive; this will allow the hot air to escape. When the word of the trapped hot air has escaped, roll the windows up so the air-con can do its job properly.
Crack the windows Leaving the windows slightly open can promote air circulation and help prevent the buildup of heat inside your car when it’s parked, though do bear in mind you may not be insured if anything happens to your car if you park it up with the windows open, even slightly.
Consider window tinting Window tinting can help reduce the amount of heat that enters your car and protect your upholstery from sun damage, but there are strict rules about how dark window tints can be, so ensure any firm you use stays on the right side of the law.
Cover your seats If you have leather or vinyl seats, covering them with a towel or blanket can help prevent burns and keep them from getting too hot when the car is parked up.
Use a cooling seat cushion Cooling seat cushions are made from honeycomb-style material allows the air to circulate beneath your posterior, helping to keep you cool as you drive.
Service your air conditioning Staying hydrated is important during hot weather, so keep a water bottle in your car to drink on the go. Keeping a larger bottle in the boot can be a good idea in case you get into car trouble, but don’t forget to check its best-before date periodically, as bottled water doesn’t last forever.
Service your air conditioning A stitch in time saves nine, so it’s better to get your air-con system serviced in-line with manufacturer recommendations (most need maintenance every couple of years) rather than wait for a fault to develop on the hottest day of the year.
Drive during cooler hours Whenever possible, try to avoid driving during the hottest parts of the day, and schedule your trips for early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler. Pay extra care if travelling with children, packing plenty of drinks for everyone, and bearing in mind hot weather often coincides with school summer holidays, and therefore increased traffic jams.
What to do if Your Car’s Engine Overheats:
If you notice that your car’s temperature gauge is in the red zone or you see steam coming from under the hood, it’s likely that your engine has overheated. The first thing to do is to turn off your air conditioning and turn on your car’s heater. This may seem counterintuitive, but it will help draw heat away from the engine.
Pull over to a safe location as soon as possible and turn off the engine. If you open the bonnet to help the engine cool down, be prepared for hot air and steam to escape from it as you open it, and definitely do not try to open the radiator or coolant expansion tank until the engine has cooled down properly – you risk boiling steam being ejected into your face or body.
Once the engine has cooled, you can check the coolant levels and add more if needed. If the problem persists, it’s important to take your car to a mechanic as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
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