The heat of summer can make this otherwise beautiful season downright unpleasant. For drivers who don’t enjoy intense heat, getting into a car that has been parked in hot weather can feel like being roasted alive. Stay cool and get more out of your summer by using these tips to keep your car cooler when parked.
1. Use a sunshade or window visor. This tried-and-true method of keeping your car cool should be your go-to option to counteract hot interior temps throughout the summer. Put up a sunshade or window visor every time you exit your car for more than a few minutes. Keep it even cooler for long periods by putting a sunshade in your rear window as well.
2. Use a dash cover. A fabric or upholstered dash cover can go a long way towards making your car’s interior more comfortable. You won’t feel as overwhelmed by the heat if you don’t have to touch hot vinyl surfaces. Dash covers also protect sensitive vinyl from sun damage that can cause cracking and fading.
3. Cover your steering wheel with a hand towel. Even if you use a sunshade, it’s a good idea to cover your steering wheel with a small towel. This will help to keep the contact temperature of your steering wheel down.
4. Park in a shady area. Whenever possible, park in a shady area. If you’re going to be somewhere for an extended period of time, it’s worth it to walk a bit farther in order to park in the shade. You’ll be happy to enter a not-so-hot car when you return from your day out.
5. Keep your precious possessions out of the sun. Any tapes, CDs or delicate items that you keep in your car should be stored out of the path of direct sunlight. Try storing your tape and CD cases underneath the seat. You can also throw a blanket over your precious possessions. If you can’t find a place in your car that will conceal heat-sensitive goods, consider placing them in the trunk.
6. Park in a garage when possible. Whenever possible, park in a garage. Your car will be out of direct sunlight and will have the benefit of near-constant shade. Even a warm garage beats being parked in the sun all day.
7. Keep windows slightly cracked. While it’s not a good idea to leave your windows all the way open, it is a good idea to leave them slightly cracked. Check to be sure that you can’t fit your arm through the crack in your window. Even a small crack will promote ventilation and help to keep your car cool.
8. Purchase a solar-powered fan. Paired with cracked windows, a solar-powered fan can make your car feel downright pleasant during even the hottest summer days. These simple fans work to expel hot air from your car. By creating constant air circulation, they lower your car’s overall temperature.
9. Throw blankets over your seats. If your car features vinyl or leather seats, you know just how hot these materials can become when exposed to sunlight and high temperatures. To keep car seats cool, throw blankets over them. When you return to the car, you can place the blankets on the floorboards or toss them in the trunk. Keeping your seats cool will make your car more pleasant on hot summer days.
10. Leave your doors open before getting in. Before jumping into your hot car, leave the doors open for a few minutes. This will help the hot air exit and the cool air enter.
A version of this story originally appeared on Angie’s List.