Tips to Cool the Car This Summer

By Sara Lacey  on August 5, 2013

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When the outside temperature is 90 degrees, in-car temperatures can jump to 109 degrees in 10 minutes and soar to 138 degrees in 90 minutes, according to the Weather Channel. Many of us may sit in a sweltering car on a hot summer day waiting for it to cool, wondering if there's anything we can do to make it happen faster.

Short of buying a new car with a light-colored interior, ventilated seats and sun shades, Cars.com editorial staff members have weighed in with their favorite tips to cool your car this summer.

  • Seek shade or create some: Keep your car cool by parking in a shady lot spot or on the street. If none is available, create your own with shades that cover the windshield and side windows.
  • Shun the sun: Can't find shade and left the window shades at home? Park the car's front away from the sun so your front seats and steering wheel stay shaded.
  • Circulate some air: Cracking the windows is good advice, too, but the editors didn't stop there. They recommend cars with window vents because you can crack them and not worry about rain getting in the car. No vents? Try using the tilt function on your car's sunroof, if you have one and there's no rain in the forecast.
  • Repurpose damp pool towels: Take the towels your kids used at the pool in the morning and cover the car's seats with them. This simultaneously cools the seats and dries the towels.
  • Cold check: Be sure your car's air-conditioning system has enough refrigerant (there are different types), and use the system's recirculating button for maximum coldness.
  • Go to the dark side: A more expensive option is to tint your car's windows.
  • Be cool: Use aftermarket seat pads with cooling crystals or gel; some pads can be plugged into the car's 12-volt outlet.

The most expensive option is to look into buying a car with a parked car ventilation system (if you don't already have one). A ventilation system that kicks on when the car is parked can reduce the interior temperature significantly, lessening the load on the air-conditioning system.

How do you keep your car cool when it's parked in the summer sun? Share your tips in the comment section below.

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