Getting into a sweltering car on a hot summer's day is sure to make anyone miserable. The air conditioning never seems to work fast enough, leaving you saddled with sweat dripping everywhere, not to mention the pain of touching the scorching interior.
But you don't have to sit there and suffer. Talking to the experts, we've put together some helpful tips on how to reduce your vehicle's temperature to triple digits in no time. Read on to discover the six quickest ways to cool your car's interior.
1. Open the doors and turn on the air conditioning
Even in the summer heat, many of us get into our cars and immediately close the driver's door. But Andrew Kuttow, an automotive specialist and the publisher of LamboCars, recommends unlearning this reflex. Instead, he says, you should start your car and blast the air conditioning while the doors are still open. “Wide-open doors create a path for hot air to escape, making the cooling process more efficient,” Kuttow explains. “Make sure you're in a safe and secure place when you do this, as leaving your doors open can pose a safety risk.”
2. Use windows to exhaust hot air
If you need to start immediately and don't have time to leave the doors open, you can always try another ventilation method. “Roll down the windows and crank up the air conditioning while the car's running,” advises Julie Bausch, editor-in-chief of automotive news outlet Car Talk. According to Bausch, warm, stagnant air in your car can also escape through open windows, although your windows are a much smaller exit space than your doors. “By the time the cool air from the air conditioning kicks in, the warmer air that had built up in the car will be gone,” she says.
3. Use outside air mode
Air conditioning can be a godsend for your car during the sweltering summer. But you won't want to simply turn it on out of distraction. Josh Mitchell, an HVAC specialist and owner of AirConditionerLab, says drivers should avoid using the system's recirculation mode in the first place. “Instead, when starting the car, set the air conditioning to maximum and use the outside air mode,” Mitchell advises. “This expels warm air and cools interiors quickly.”
4. Direct cool air downwards
You also need to pay special attention to the vents you use if you want your car's air conditioning to make a difference quickly. According to Varda Meyers Epstein, an automotive specialist and publisher of Kars4Kids, you should use the vehicle's lower vents in this situation, not the upper ones. “This means directing cool, air-conditioned air into the feet of your car, blowing warm air up and out of open windows,” she explains. Epstein advises keeping the upper vents on both your dashboard and the base of the windshield closed when you do this.
5. Use the “4-10” window method
If your car doesn't have air conditioning or it doesn't work well, don't worry. You can use the “4-10” window method to create a fan effect in this case, according to Andrew Kuttow. This is done by lowering one window, then opening and closing the opposite door (for example, the driver-side window and the passenger-side door) four to 10 times. “It's like manually creating a breeze to expel stagnant hot air,” shares Kuttow. “This method requires no special equipment and can be used anywhere, but it may not be as effective in extremely humid conditions.”
6. Park your car in the shade
Many experts recommend parking your car under a tree or in a garage in summer to keep it out of direct sunlight. But if you haven't done so before, you can still use these tips to quickly cool your car's interior. Neil Ferguson, an automotive specialist and author of NeilsGarage.com, says you should immediately take your car, park in the shade and sit in it. “Then blast that air conditioning to full blast and hang on for a few minutes until you feel the difference,” he says.
By using these simple tricks, you can quickly reduce your car's temperature and make your summer journeys much more pleasant.
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