Beat The Heat: keeping your parked car cool
August 3, 2016
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When temperatures in Utah approach the triple digits, it can practically turn our cars into little ovens. In fact, the interior of cars can reach upwards of 140 degrees remarkably fast making the heat of parked cars more than just a nuisance — it can be dangerous.
We often discuss safety while driving, but it's important to remember that even parked cars require our attention and caution. And even more importantly than protecting your steering wheel, dash or seats is protecting those you transport in your car: you, your family and pets.
Kids or pets and hot cars don't mix. Keep these five tips in mind this summer:
- Never leave your child alone in a vehicle — even with the windows down — because of how quickly a vehicle's interior can heat to dangerous temperatures. Leaving children in the car with the air conditioning running can be just as dangerous as leaving them in a hot car. Your child may accidentally put the car into drive or even get caught in a closing power window.
- Metal and plastics can heat quickly and can burn just as fast. When leavening your car in the sun for an extended period of time, be sure to cover metal and plastics parts on seat belts and child safety seats to prevent burns when you return.
- Before leaving the car in the sun for an extended amount of time, cover metal and plastic parts on seat belts and child safety seats. Allowing those to be in the sun can make them incredibly hot — hot enough to burn you or your child.
- When you return to the car, be sure to check the temperature of the car seat before buckling your child in. It only takes one second for skin touching a car seat surface over 180 degrees to severely burn.
- Dogs are especially vulnerable to heat-related illness because they can only cool off by panting and through the pads in their feet. Leaving the window open will not keep the car significantly cool enough to prevent the heat building to an unbearable level.
Here are seven tips to beat the heat and prolong the life your car's interior:
- After parking, put sun-blocking visors against the inside of your windshield and back window to help keep out the sun.
- Keep towels in your car and lay them on leather or vinyl seats, which can get extremely hot in the summer. Even if you have used visors, the sun might come in directly on the seats through the side windows, so cover the seats to protect them and your passenger's skin.
- If you don't have a visor for your dash, cover the steering wheel with a fabric to save your hands from burning. Make sure that the steering wheel is a temperature that you can firmly hold on to before attempting to drive anywhere.
- Consider using stick-on window shades or tinting; these can significantly reduce the amount of sun and heat that penetrate your car windows.
- Of course, you know to park in the shade. But if there is no shade, try to park so that the sun comes in the back window. At least that way the front dash, steering wheel, and seats do not get as hot.
- When it is really hot out, open the vehicle's doors and let the interior cool for a few minutes before entering.
- Once you enter a hot car, turn the air conditioning to high and open your windows a couple of inches. This will efficiently lower the interior temperatures because the cool air produced will displace the hot air, pushing it out the windows. As soon as it's cooled down, close the windows.
So, whether you are just running into the store to grab something really quickly, or you are parking all day at the water park, remember these tips to make keep you and your car from overheating this summer!
This article was originally published by KSL, July 15, 2013. Written by Rolayne Fairclough a KSL.com contributor.