Studies have shown that temperatures inside a car parked under direct sun can shoot up dangerously by up to 40 degrees Celsius in a matter of minutes. This means if the outside temperature is 47 degrees, heat inside a closed car’s cabin can reach 87 degrees to 90 degrees Celsius. Apart from burning your hands, back and derriere, this spike in temperature is also known to release chemicals like benzene from the plastics inside a car, which could even lead to cancer.
So, here are a few tips to keep your car cool (relatively) when parked and to cool it down as quickly as possible once you get back in.
1. Find a shade or park smart: This is the most obvious thing to do, but most of the times, this isn’t practical in teeming cities. In case you cannot find a shaded car park, try to find a slot where you can park the car with the sun behind you. This way, you can reduce the intensity of heat that falls on steering wheel, dashboard and seats.
2. Use a specialist reflective windscreen sun shield: Rather than use a cheap shield that you got for free from your service centre, invest in a specialist windscreen sun shield that uses reflective coatings to block out heat and UV rays. As well as keeping the cabin temperature relatively lower, this will also help in keeping the plastics from cracking prematurely.
3. Leave a gap in the windows: Leaving the windows open by about an inch each will facilitate flow of air through the cabin leading to significantly lower temperatures inside than when all the windows are closed tight. But keep an eye on the weather forecast, since you wouldn’t want to do this on a day with a sandstorm.
4. Leave the door open for a few seconds: If, even after taking all the aforementioned precautions, you find the car sweltering, the first thing to do is leave the door open for 15 to 20 seconds before you enter. This will let the rest of the hot air trapped in escape faster.
5. Wipe it down: Keep a thick cotton hand towel and a small bottle of water in the car. Once you enter, wet a portion of the towel and wipe the steering wheel and the gear knob with it. The wet towel will absorb heat from the plastic or metal surfaces making it easier to touch these.
6. Recirculate the air: Start driving with the windows still a few inches down and keep the AC in Recirculation mode. That way, the AC will not have to work harder to cool the hot air it sucks in from outside but instead work on the already cooler air inside and recirculate it.