Here in the Valley, and other “hot” spots around the world, there are some wise things you can do to keep the temperature inside of your parked car a little cooler. Here are some ideas and facts (from Popular Science) to back this up:
A study in Pediatrics found that cracking the window 5 centimeters lowered the temperature in a car by about 28°F on a 98°F day . The interior air was still hot—it reached a stifling 122°F—but that’s still better than the 150°F they measured with the windows fully closed. Another study found a smaller drop in temperature on a cooler day, so the actual change in temperature will vary depending on the outside weather.
Opening the windows halfway kept the vehicle much cooler than opening them a crack, but this also makes it a little too easy for thieves to break into your car. So it’s best to settle for a smaller opening unless your car is parked in a very safe location.
Idea 2: Sunshades:
A series of experiments at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a research institute run by the University of Central Florida, found that these shades can reduce the interior temperature of a car by 15° to 20°F. Researchers obtained the best results with shades that contained a reflective surface turned to face the interior of the car (yes, the interior).
That’s only a mild improvement in air temperature, but their real advantage lies in their ability to shade your dashboard: The FSEC found that sun shades cooled the steering wheel and other surfaces by a whopping 40° to 50°F, allowing drivers to touch them without burning their hands.
The windshield is just one of the entry points for sunlight. If you can get shades for your windows too, all the better, although removing shades from all your windows can be a bit of a hassle.
As a more convenient alternative, if you’re willing to spend more, a good ceramic window tint will also cut down on incoming light. It may run you a few hundred bucks, but if you live in a perpetually sunny area, the investment may be worth it. I might do that on my next car!
If you find sun shades too expensive or annoying to wrangle, you can at least keep your seat, dashboard, and steering wheel from getting searing by keeping a beach towel or other cover in your car. Just drape it on the seat or dashboard when you exit to shield them from the sun. The air in the car will still get hot, but you’ll at least be able to sit down without burning your hands and legs.
If you want something a bit more elegant, cloth seat covers can protect your bare legs from sizzling leather seats.
Even if you forget a cover, you can try this trick to protect your steering wheel. When you park, turn the wheel so its top faces away from the direct sunlight coming through the windows. That way, you’ll have a relatively cool spot to grab when you return to the vehicle. Some people I know drape a towel over the steering wheel or buy a nice steering wheel cover.
Idea 4: Force some of that hot air out before you get in.To do this, open the driver-side door, roll down the passenger window, and then “fan” the driver’s door by opening and closing it several times in a row. This will recirculate the air quickly, making the interior comfortable enough for you to get in and start the air conditioner. Aaron Miller, cars editor at Thrillist, found this cooling method to work even faster than driving with the windows down. Sure, you’ll look a little silly in the parking lot, but it’s a small sacrifice compared to melting in the driver’s seat. Not crazy about this idea!
I think they forgot a few. Here are mine!
Park under a big shady tree.
Only go out in the morning or evening when it is not as hot.
Ride your bicycle (only in the morning).
Have a cold beer once you finish driving!