It’s been a long day at work and you’re desperate to get home to soak up the last of the evening’s rays, but before that, you have to endure a drive home in your car that feels like it’s on fire. So here is our guide to the best ways to cool your car down.
How to cool down a hot car
Fan the interior
Open both the windows on one side of the car, then, providing it’s safe to do so, ‘fan’ the interior by swinging a door on the opposite side back and forth. Repeat this open-close motion at least three times to help expel the hot air. It also helps to leave the sunroof shut if the car is parked outside in sunlight, with any internal shade pulled across it.
Switch on the air conditioning, correctly
The most obvious solution we know, but here’s a reminder of best practice. Start the engine and switch the air conditioning to its coldest setting. If your car offers the option, select the ‘external’ air setting (the symbol on the switch usually shows an arrow entering the car), rather than air re-circulation (a circular arrow). The air outside the car will be cooler at this point. Open all windows, as the air-con system will take a few minutes to cool down your car.
Use the lower air vents
Heat rises, so it makes sense to blast the cooler, air-conditioned air into the foot-wells, forcing the hot air already inside the car upwards and out of the open windows. Shut off the upper vents on the dashboard and at the base of the windscreen so that the full flow of air into the car is directed upwards.
Keep the windows open
Start driving, but keep the car windows open for a minute or two to let all the hot air escape, do this until the air from the vents feels cooler than the outside temperature.
Close the windows and switch to recirculated air
Once the air conditioning is blowing cold, close all the windows and switch to (pre-cooled) recirculated air. You can now open the upper air vents and adjust the flow as required. More advanced ‘climate control’ air-conditioning systems allow you to set and maintain a constant temperature within the car.
How to prevent your car getting hot in the first place
Park away from direct sunlight
Parking in the shade – perhaps under a tree or canopy – is one easy way to prevent your car heating up. If you have a garage, then use it. It will keep your car cool, clean and secure.
Use a windscreen sunshade
A windscreen sunshade keeps the sun’s rays away from your car interior – especially the touch-points, such as the steering wheel and gear lever. They are available from most car accessory shops; simply tuck the shade behind the sun visors when you park the car.
Leaving windows (slightly) open
Although leaving your windows slightly open does allow air to circulate through the car, you should be well aware of the risk of theft from your car in this situation.
Cover your seats
Leather seats, in particular, can get uncomfortably hot and sticky – and may degrade and crack if regularly exposed to heat. Fitting light-coloured seat covers is one solution. As a temporary measure, a towel spread over the seat will help keep you cool.
Wipe down hot surfaces
On very hot days, the interior door handles, steering wheel, gear lever and handbrake may become painfully hot to touch. Wiping them over with a damp cloth will help to remedy this.
Are there any other tips for keeping your car cool, that work for you? If so, let us know on our social channels! We are @twwhiteandsons on Facebook and Twitter! Check out our blog for more content as well.