May 19, 2015

How to Keep Your Car Cool this Summer

Anyone who’s lived through an Oklahoma summer knows how hot it can get outside. They also know how much hotter it can get inside – specifically, inside a car parked in the sun for more than a few minutes. Sitting down in a hot car is never fun, which is why we’ve put together a few tips and tricks for keeping the inside of your Oklahoma City used car cool this summer.

Driving an Oklahoma Used Car

Why Car Interiors Get Hot

It seems strange that, on a day when it’s only 80 or 85 degrees outside, the inside of your car can get to 120 degrees or hotter. The reason for this difference in temperature is the greenhouse effect, a simple concept that actually occurs around us almost all the time.

In short, the greenhouse effect happens when sunlight shines through glass and hits another surface (like your car’s seats or dashboard). When this happens, the radiation from the sunlight – the same radiation that makes sunlight feel warm – gets absorbed into the surfaces and then slowly released through the car. This is why your steering wheel and seats are hot to the touch when you get back in your car.

Once the heat from the sun is released inside your car, it quickly fills the space and raises the temperature inside. The reason it doesn’t cool off again is because glass windshields and windows are poor conductors of heat. They don’t absorb or transfer it very well, especially from the air. This means sunlight, and the solar radiation it carries, keeps pouring into your car but the heat can’t escape. In the end, your car quickly gets much hotter than the outside air.

How to Prevent the Greenhouse Effect

There’s no one way to keep your car totally cool in the summer. However, there are some ways you can significantly reduce the heat that gets inside your car, making it much easier to cool down.

Method 1: Crack the Windows

This old-school tip is probably familiar to us all, and that’s because it really does work. By leaving a gap of an inch or two at the top of your windows, you give the hot air inside your car a way to get back outside. Your car will still be warm when you return, but not nearly as much as if the windows were closed.

What about rain? We all know how fast the weather in Oklahoma can turn. If you’re going to be away from your car for more than a few hours, or if you don’t know what the weather is going to do, it’s best to bypass this tip. Alternately, you can buy small visors that fit over the windows in order to block rain while the windows are slightly open.

Method 2: Seat Blankets

Another simple method for reducing the heat in your car is to put a few blankets down over the seats when you leave. The idea with this method is that the blankets will absorb the solar radiation rather than your seats. When you return to the car, you just bundle the blankets up and toss them in the trunk, leaving your seats cool to the touch.

This method does help with making the car comfortable right away, but it unfortunately doesn’t do much for lowering the actual temperature inside the car. However, you can use this in combination with other methods to get some additional cooling.

Method 3: Windshield Shades

You’ve probably seen cars with large screens or shades propped up inside the windshield on hot summer days. While they may not seem very effective, in truth these shades can lower the interior temperature of your car significantly. These shades work by either absorbing or reflecting the sun’s radiation, keeping it from reaching the interior surfaces of your car.

Windshield screens are a great way to keep your car cool, but they can be bulky and annoying to set up. We recommend getting smaller, “spring-loaded” shades that open themselves and stay in place easily. These smaller shades provide just as much sun protection, but are much easier to put up and take down when it’s hot and humid outside.

Method 4: Window Tint

Tinted windows are a popular way to keep your car cool, especially here in Oklahoma. They work in a similar way to windshield shades, by blocking or reflecting a portion of the sun’s radiation before it enters the car. However, if you’re considering tinted windows you need to be sure that your tint complies with Oklahoma law.

In Oklahoma, window tint is allowed on the upper portion of the windshield, as well as on the side and rear windows. The tint on the front side windows and the rear glass must block no more than 25% of visible light – in other words, it must let at least 75% of visible light through the glass. This is to ensure the tint doesn’t compromise night and poor-weather visibility. A good tint shop or auto glass shop will help you pick a tint that’s both effective and legal. You should avoid doing it yourself unless you have a way to test the tint afterwards.

Of course these tips won’t mean much to you if you don’t have a car to use them on. Why not come to The KEY in Oklahoma City and find the perfect used car? We have a huge selection, and we work with buyers that have little or no credit. Call us today or get pre-approved online in just a few minutes. You can also visit our Facebook and Google+ pages for more great used car tips and ideas.