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6 Tips for Keeping Your Car Cool in the Heat

Car sun shade
Photo: iStock

Every time I get into my car these days, it's like I'm walking into a Bikram yoga class - unbelievably hot and instantly sweaty. Since we made the switch from underground parking to street parking a few years back, keeping the car cool in the summer has been a challenge.

It's tempting to just idle the car while running the air conditioning - but that wastes fuel and pollutes the air! So here are a few tricks we've employed over the years to keep your car from burning you in the summer.

Park in the shade - Obviously.

Cover the wheel - A red hot steering wheel sure makes it hard to drive. A fabric steering wheel cover can really help cut down on hot hands - but if you don't like the feel of a steering wheel cover, you can always keep a hand towel in the car to throw over the steering wheel when you park.

Cover the leather/vinyl - I'm sure that anyone who grew up with vinyl or leather car seats remembers the searing pain of those white hot seats on the back of your legs in the summer. Seat covers not only protect your legs but also your seats from sun damage.

Get a car sun shade - A reflective car sun shade may not be the sexiest thing you can put in your car but it will keep the surfaces from scalding you. Plus, it will keep your dashboard from cracking and peeling. You can also get window shades to keep the back of the car shaded from direct sun.

Bring a beverage - It's important to stay hydrated in the summer and having a cool beverage can help ease the transition from hot parked car to air conditioned, moving car. My drink of choice - the slush.

Cool it from the toes up - Once you've vented the hot air and are turning on the air conditioning, make sure your AC is blowing on your feet. Because when your feet are cool, you'll be cool! Speaking of feet, be sure to wear lightweight but fitted shoes when you drive - loose sandals and flip flops can make driving dangerous

Do you have any tips for keeping the car cool? Leave them in the comments!

- Rose R.


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Alexandra LeMay

I'm putting this out to the engineers who are reading. In hot weather my partner jacks up the air conditioning when he starts the car and then rolls the window down. How long do you think that window should stay rolled down before you roll it up and let the car air conditioner do its magic. We drive an Infinity SUV.

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