Spring is here, summer is heating up and so is the interior of your car. There is nothing worse than opening the driver side door and being put on the back foot by the blast-furnace heat as it escapes. Unless it is having to sit on those simmering seats and peering through the heat haze as you try to steer home without actually touching the sizzling wheel. Well, here are some tips and tricks to keep your car cool this summer.
- Use a windscreen sunshade
This seems like pretty basic advice but one of the best ways to stop the heat from having a frolic in your car is by preventing it from getting inside in the first place. Be sure to get a sunshade which fits flush against your windscreen and stays put. Letting a reflective sunshade simply lounge on your dash is a bad idea. While it might reflect some of the UV rays back out the windscreen, most of them just end up bouncing around the interior, adding to the problem.
- Stay under cover
The sun can’t heat what it can’t see. Park under cover or in shade whenever you can. Remember, shadows move with the sun. Early morning sun and late afternoon sun are far less deadly than noon-time sun, because their oblique angle to the earth means they have to fight through a thicker ozone layer to get to you. When you’re parking, do a quick East-West check and park so the shadow will cover your car for the hottest part of the day.
- Lid your dash and seat
If your car is going to be an oven anyway, use this pro-chef tip: cook uncovered to grill or roast. Direct application of sunlight to your seat or steering wheel will heat them to a much higher degree than if they were covered, say, with a blanket or towel. The cloth will absorb the majority of the heat and can be quickly folded away, leaving the wheel safe to handle. Remember that dark colours absorb sunlight far more readily than lighter colours. Use a white or pale cloth to avoid turning it into another heating element in your car. Use the same for your seat to avoid melting those bonbons.
- Use your aircon right
You mostly don’t have time to waste waiting for your car to cool before setting off. This means putting up with the aircon’s laboured efforts to dispel the hell your car has become. Being drenched in sweat is most unpleasant when the arctic finally wins out over the acrid. You’re liable to catch a summer cold. The trick is to have the interior cool down as fast as possible. To accomplish this, keep your windows closed and select the air-recirculations option. The AC will have an easier time if it can keep hammering away at the same air instead of the hot air you keep letting in.
- Bottoms up
Since hot air rises, it will escape more easily through partly open windows or a sunroof. Using the aircon’s floor-level vents rather than the eye-level ones will herd the heat upward and speed its escape, aiding the cooling process. Using this same principle, you could keep your car significantly cooler by leaving your windows and sunroof open while it’s parked. But this is South Africa and at least the heat won’t drive off with your Hyundai.
If none of this appeals, you could always brave the heat and drive to the beach, where the sun is welcome and so is your Hyundai! (Besides, you’ve got a nice, pale beach towel packed already…)