During the hot Phoenix summers, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures (as high as 128 degrees). While you can’t avoid the summer heat altogether, there are ways to keep your car cool in the summer and bearable. From finding a shady spot to park, to maximizing your air conditioning, the following tips will help you keep your car cool on those blistering hot days.

14 Ways to Keep Your Car Cool in the Summer

1. Park in Shaded Areas

One of the easiest ways to keep your car cool during the summer is to avoid direct sunlight. Not only will it keep your dash from drying out and cracking, but it will also make entering the car a lot easier to handle. Let’s face it – no one wants to get in a car that’s been parked in hot, direct sunlight, especially in Phoenix! Take time to find shaded parking like a carport, under trees (watch out for bird droppings), or use an underground parking lot. If you’re in a safe area, leave the windows slightly open (about an inch), allowing hot air to escape. Glass windows hold hot air inside, so it’s crucial that you let the hot air out.

2. Invest in a Solar-Powered Fan

Combined with slightly opened windows, using a solar-powered fan will really cool things off in your car, even on the hottest days. These fans circulate the air, expelling hot air, thereby reducing the temperature in the car.

3. Use Seat Covers

Seat covers not only protect fabric and leather seating, but they also keep them nice and cool. If your car has leather or vinyl seats, you know how hot they can get when exposed to the intense summer heat in Phoenix. Keeping car seats cool could be as simple as covering them with blankets or towels or investing in seat covers. While you’re at it, cover your steering wheel as well to protect the fabric or leather and avoid burning your hands.

4. Seat Cooling Cushions

These seat cushions not only help keep you cool, they help relieve stress brought on by prolonged driving. Cooling cushions are also used in homes or offices to make long term seating more comfortable.

5. Use Window Curtains

These are easy to install and block the sun from multiple directions. High-quality window curtains are typically made with Tetoron material (a polyester fiber) for UV protection and heat insulation.

6. Window Sun Shades

Sun shades help keep the car cool and block harmful UV rays. There are several options available, including a version that attaches to windows. These sun shades also reduce glare while maintaining visibility in some cases.

7. Use a Dash Cover

A fabric or upholstered dash cover will go a long way towards protecting susceptible vinyl from sun damage that causes fading and cracking.

8. Use Conditioning Products

Invest in leather or vinyl protectant products to provide an additional protective layer to your car’s interior surfaces. There are also low gloss products available that offer protection and reduce glare. If your car has leather seats, the summer heat can do a real number on them. To help prevent tears and cracks, and to keep them clean, apply a leather conditioner often. It’s also a good idea to wipe the dash off on a regular basis using a microfiber cloth. Dirt and dust can lead to scratches that can get worse over time.

9. Tinted windows

If you frequently need to park your car in the sun, you might want to consider having your windows tinted. Just make sure you understand the regulations and which level of tinting is legal.

10. Protect Your Belongings

Any delicate items you have in the car (CDs, tapes, etc.) should be kept out of direct sunlight.  Years ago, I left a cassette tape exposed in the car and within just a few hours it ended up a melted, shriveled up mess. Store sensitive items under the car seat, in a heat friendly carrier, or throw a blanket over them.

11. Cooling System

Protect your engine from overheating by having the cooling system inspected and keep an eye on coolant levels. It’s also important to make sure all fluids are at the recommended levels.  Regularly have the motor oil, brake, transmission and power steering fluid checked and topped off.

12. Check the Battery

Hot weather and using air conditioning can cause the battery to wear out faster. In addition, excessive heat can also cause the fluid in the battery to evaporate, which also reduces the life of the battery. Have the battery and charging system checked out by a professional mechanic regularly to make sure it’s working properly.

13. Air Conditioning

If your car’s a/c isn’t cooling enough, the refrigerant charge level in the a/c system might be low. It could also be a sign of a more serious problem. In either case you should have the a/c system checked by a professional.

14.  Check the Tires

Hot summer weather can cause problems with tires. Be sure to check the tire pressure on a regular basis using an accurate gauge. You’ll also want to check out the tire tread. A simple monthly check of your car’s tires will ensure your safety on the road.

At the height of Phoenix’s intense summer weather, the interior of a car can heat up to hazardous temperatures. While you can’t alter the weather, you can take steps to prepare your vehicle by using the “14 ways to keep your car cool in the summer” listed here.  Need to have your car checked out under the hood before summer is in full force?  Contact us today.

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