It's a very British thing to whinge about the weather – it's always either too cold, too wet or far too hot. Just think of the plants in the garden. They *do* need some rain.
But at the risk of sounding like our Mums, it's also worth learning how to cool your car down quickly after it's been parked up in the unseasonable amount of sun we've been having. Without further ado, here are our top tips for making your car's cabin feel more like Siberia than the Sahara.
It's all well and good having air-conditioning in your car, but there are a few tips and tricks you can use to cool the car down quickly – which is great not only for your own comfort, but it's extra important if you have kids or pets to transport.
Fan the interior
Open the windows on one side of your car and use one of the doors on the other to fan air in and out of the car. You might look a bit mad opening and closing your door as if someone's let off a stinkbomb int he car, but it's the most effective way to move the stale hot air out of your car.
Switch on your air con… properly!
Ok, this may seem a little obvious, but there is a ‘best way’ to do this. Switch your car’s AC on, and keep the windows open to start with. Once the internal air starts to feel cooler than the external air you can then close them.
Set the fans to draw in external air at first (as this will drag in cooler air). Once you have closed your windows you should then set this to recirculate the air already in the car (as this will be pre-cooled as opposed to drawing warmer air back in the car). Using the recirculation function means your car doesn't have to work as hard keeping the air cool, because it's not having to cool a fresh stream of air constantly – so it's also good for your fuel economy.
Remember that heat rises, so you may want to focus air into foot wells to force hot air up. Directing your car’s fans downwards is also another way to do this.
Remotely start your engine and switch on your car’s AC
A number of high-end cars such as Range Rover Velars and Jaguar F Pace come with the option of starting the car remotely, so you can begin cooling your car down before you get to it. This is normally controlled using an app that is connected to the car (although some cars have a remote key that can be used to do the same thing).
When starting your car you can also pre-set the internal temperature, so it can be ice cold in the summer or perfectly warm in the winter.
Consider buying a car with air-conditioned seats
While heated seats aren’t an uncommon sight in cars anymore, air-conditioned seats are a different story. Ventilated seats used to be reserved for the most premium brands, but these days they're reasonably common on high-spec Kia models too. You’ll find small perforations in the leather seats that are designed to channel cold air onto you as you drive, keeping you cool. It's a slightly unnerving feeling at first, but once you've experienced it you won't go back.
And yes, some cars will let you use the seat cooling at the same time as the seat heaters, for a fully confusing experience.
How to stop your car from getting too hot
The easiest way to quickly cool down your car is to not let it get too hot in the first place. Here's how to do that:
- Park in a shaded area – trees can provide good shade, or use your garage if you have one. A cooler car can save you the time of having to get rid of all the hot air before your next journey
- Use a sunshade – available for your windscreen, they can help keep the heat from the sun out of your car. They are readily available online or any shops that sell car accessories
- Have your air-con serviced – maintaining your car’s air conditioning helps keep it running more efficiently. This means it will be more effective at cooling your car down. Many garages should be able to service our air conditioning. You should always consult your car’s handbook to see how often this should be done
- Cover your seats – darker colours absorb more heat and unfortunately, most cars come with black seats that will heat up. If you haven’t got lighter colour seats consider fitting paler coloured seat covers or covering your seat with a lighter towel that will stop it getting so hot
- Leave windows ajar – leaving your windows open a crack can help air circulate inside your car and prevent hot air from building up inside. Remember to only leave them open a small amount so thieves can’t gain access to your car and ensure the car is locked and alarmed
- Wipe down key touch points – sitting in the sun all day can really heat up your steering wheel, steering controls and gear stick. Using a damp cloth to wipe them down can cool them enough to handle more safely
Essential summer car checks
As in the winter months, there are a number of essential checks you should carry out to ensure your car continues to run smoothly and you are as safe as possible on the roads as the weather heats up:
- Coolant – check you have sufficient coolant levels in your car before your journeys. This is essential for ensuring your engine is running at the correct temperature and not overheating
- Tyres – check the tread levels on your tyres (min 3mm) and ensure they are inflated to the correct pressure (this can be found in your car’s handbook or you can read our advice here). Heat can impact the pressure in your tyres, with excessive temperatures causing it to increase. This can reduce your traction on the road and increase stopping distances
- Screenwash – keeping those windows dust and dirt free is just as essential in the summer as it is in the winter. The sun can already be enough of a hindrance on your visibility when driving without the addition of a dirty windscreen
- Wipers – British summers are also prone to heavy downpours and thunderstorms after a heatwave. Ensure your wipers are effectively cleaning your windscreen and that the blades don’t need replacing (if they squeak when you switch them on, this is a sign you need new ones). Don’t forget to check both the front and back!