Keeping Cars Cool in the Summer: Ten Tips to Beat Vehicle Heat

Simple sunshades like this one are an effective way to keep the heat out. Offers 10 Tips and Tricks to Help You Beat the Heat

Summer is here, and while many love the warm weather, it’s not so fun when you have to get into your car when it is has been sitting in the hot sun all day. Keeping cars cool in the summer heat can be a difficult task.

Top 3:

  1. Crack the windows. Yes, it’s an easy thing to do but how many of you actually do it? State Farm’sVehicle Research Facility recorded interior air temperatures well in excess of 145° F and vehicle interior surface temperatures on areas exposed to direct sunlight in excess of 195°F. So even if it’s hot outside cracking the windows could help bring that temperature down. Any little bit helps. Just be sure to keep an eye out for summer thunderstorms and roll up the windows if needed to keep the rain out.
  2. Cover up the seats. A good method for protecting the driver and passengers from those hot seats, is an easy one, but many of us don’t think of it. Simply leave blankets on the seats when you leave the car. This will shield the seats from direct sunlight. Then just toss the blankets on the floor or in the trunk so you have them on the next hot day. This is especially helpful if you have leather seats.
  3. Use a sunshade. Pop up or roll up, it doesn’t matter. This is an effective way to keep harmful rays out of your vehicle and to help keep the temperature down. In addition, sunshades will allow the car to cool faster.

Sunshade Options

Cardboard sunshades placed over the windshield is the most common way to protect the vehicle. These can be found easily at local retailers. Higher tech options include auto sun shades that attach easily to the passenger side of the windshield. Simply pull the pleated sun shade out and hook it onto the mounted brackets installed on the driver’s side. When you are ready to start your drive the spring-loaded mechanism on the auto sun shade fully retracts. Other options are easily available and can be found in auto parts stores or through a quick online search.

Then, there are the shades that can be found at the baby sections of retail outlets to protect young children from the sun. The options are numerous and they all can help reduce the amount of sun entering your vehicle and raising the temperature.

All of these options have the added benefit of preventing interior fading and cracked dashboards. And don’t forget about the rear of the vehicle—the back windshield. Sunshades can prove helpful here as well, particularly for higher end-cars. Automatic options are available and rear sunshades also help protect passengers from the heat.

  1. Park in the shade. Location is key when it comes to protecting you and your car from hot temperatures. If you can find a shady area, use it, and if not park with the sun facing the rear window rather than the front windshield.
  2. Tint your windows. Solar control window film is a great way to protect your vehicle from extreme heat, according to Window Film magazine. Just make sure that when you go to a tint shop to inquire about automotive film, you tell the company you want to stay within the legal limits. Specific laws do exist in various states. Most reputable companies would tell you this but there are some film companies who do apply film that goes over the legal limit.

Here are some more simple options that can also make a difference:

  1. Use a remote starter to cool the car before you enter.
  2. Use the recirculate option when running the AC.
  3. Recharge the AC unit if you notice it isn’t blowing cold air.
  4. If you have a sunroof, keep the sunroof shade closed but crack the sunroof to act as a vent. Some vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius, come with a solar operated sunroof vent, which is helpful in those hot months.
  5. Finally—go old school, vent your windows.


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