During the summer, getting out of the heat of the sun can be a relief but getting inside your car might be another story. A parked vehicle in the scorching heat means the leather seat covers inside your car is also burning up. You might not want to sit on it as soon as you enter. How do you prevent it from happening next time? First let us talk about why your vehicle is hot inside. This is because of the greenhouse effect wherein the visible but short wavelengths of the sun can easily penetrate the windows of the car since it is made of glass. It is not a good scenario when the same heat is absorbed by the surfaces inside of the vehicle including carpet, seats and dashboard. These surfaces will radiate the heat but it comes out as long, infrared wavelengths which are not able to escape out of the glass windows thus the heat remains inside the car.
To help the heat escape out of the vehicle, you can open the window by just a small crack while on the parking lot. The crack can be as little as 5 centimeters. One study revealed that 5 cm is enough to lower the temperature inside the vehicle by 28 degrees Fahrenheit. While it would be better to crack the window by half, it is not advisable as it could be attractive to thieves.
Aside from opening the window, reflecting the sunlight can be another way to lessen the heat inside the car. This is the main purpose of sun shades as shown by a study conducted by the Florida Solar Energy Center. The shade helped reduce the heat between 15 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit. While this is not much improvement in terms of the vehicles temperature, it shaded the dashboard well including the steering wheel. This ensures that the driver is not burned after touching these surfaces.
If you don’t have sun shades, you can also cover the surfaces inside your car including leather seat covers, dashboard and the steering wheel to avoid these from absorbing too much heat.