1. Park your car in the shade
You can feel the temperature difference between the shade and the sun – and so can your car. Parking in the shade not only keeps you cool, but can prolong the life of your car. No shady spot? Use a sunshade to reduce heat inside the car.
2. Use car window shades
Keeping window shades in the car is helpful because you can’t always guarantee that you’ll find a shaded or covered area to park in. These UV heat shields will keep the interior from getting super-hot, plus it protects your interior from the damaging effects of the sun. You might even consider getting custom-made window shades that are designed to fit your make and model of car. These sun shades can be more effective at keeping all of the rays out.
3. Tint your windows
A local dealership or auto body shop can apply window tinting or window film to help keep your car cooler, and provide UV ray protection against sun damage.
4. Leave car windows open slightly
Closed windows trap hot air, and the glass serves as a conductor that helps heat up the enclosed space. Leave your windows open slightly so the air can escape – and if you have a sunroof, crack that open too. Make sure the opening is not large enough for someone to reach through. If you leave your windows cracked, remember to keep an eye on the weather – one sudden summer storm could lead to a soggy interior.
5. Turn the floor air vents on
Most people get in the car and turn the dash board are vents on “high” to get the air flowing. But you’re actually better off directing the air through the floor vents. Hot air rises, so switch to the bottom vents and put your blower on the maximum setting to push that air out. Then, once the car begins cooling, you can open the upper vents again.
6. Use the fresh air setting instead of recirculation on your A/C
Set your air conditioning on fresh air for about 10 minutes. Using the recirculation setting means you’re just moving that hot, trapped air around your vehicle, so that’s something you want to use after your car has had the chance to cool down.
7. Keep your eye on the car temperature gauge
Located on the dashboard, the device has a needle that should always be pointing toward the center. If it points toward hot, pull over, turn off the engine and let the car cool down.
8. Turn on the heat to cool the engine
Turning on the heat may be the last thing you want to do on a hot summer day, but it can pull hot air from the engine compartment and cool the engine. It won’t fix the underlying problem, but it’s a good measure for long drives.
9. Add engine coolant
This is especially important in hot months. To check the coolant level, open the hood and locate the coolant reservoir. The coolant level is shown by indicator lines on the reservoir. If too low, simply add the appropriate amount of coolant and reattach the cap. Engine coolant is often sold as a 50/50 mix of water and coolant. You can also buy concentrated coolant and mix it yourself.
10. Have your radiator flushed by a mechanic
Even if you keep engine coolant at the right levels, it will eventually get dirty and need to be replaced. A radiator flush, also known as coolant flush, involves draining old coolant from the radiator, cleaning it with flush fluid and adding new coolant. Mechanics recommend a flush every 40,000 miles, but check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendation.