You think July in Minnesota is hot? Try living on Mercury! The high temperature on the planet closest to our Sun can reach 801 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, hot enough to melt lead.
But that’s of little comfort here on Earth when you’re sweltering in 95-degree heat...and don’t even get us started about the humidity! (To paraphrase Mark Twain, why is it that everybody talks about the humidity but nobody does anything about it?)
Since July has arrived with its suitcases full of burning lava and is planning to stay all month, it’s time to consider what we can do to protect our cars from the heat this month and the rest of the summer. Here are five suggestions for keeping your car from melting like lead on the surface of Mercury when you’re away from home and your nice, shady garage:
If you must park outside, drive around for a few extra minutes to try and find a shady spot. Sometimes parking your car in the shade of a big SUV can work for a while, although those big SUVs have a way of driving off unexpectedly and taking their shade with them. If you can find one, try to park in a garage. If all else fails and you must park without shade, try to park so that the sun is directed toward your rear window rather than your windshield; this will help keep your steering wheel a bit cooler. If you have a beach towel handy, toss it over the steering wheel before you leave the car; your hands will thank you later.
Get window film installed, or install it yourself; there are numerous options for customized and do-it-yourself window-film kits. Window film can block nearly 80% of the solar energy hitting your windows from being transmitted through the glass. Besides keeping the interior cooler, window film can protect your carpets and upholstery from sun damage as well.
If you don’t have window film installed (or don’t have factory-tinted windows), use a portable windshield screen that you can keep in your car. These come in many materials; the reflective silver ones are the best, because if you’re really subtle about it you can park opposite Craig--that guy from work who always takes the last donut from the box during meetings--and use the reflective shade to both block sun from entering your car and concentrate the sun on Craig’s windshield and maybe even melt that dancing hula girl he’s so proud of.... On second thought, maybe don’t do that last part. But windshield screens are inexpensive and really useful for keeping the interior of your car much cooler on a hot sunny day.
Crack open your windows slightly to avoid the greenhouse effect, where the sun beating on the windows heats up the air inside the car to be even hotter than the outside air. If you leave your windows slightly open, some of the air inside the car will be replaced by cooler outside air. However, if you’ve been driving with the AC on long enough to cool down the inside air and are only making a brief stop (to pick up more donuts, CRAIG), keep the cooler air in by keeping your windows up.
Finally, if you’re leaving your car parked out in the hot sun (or even in a hot garage) for more than a few minutes, make sure you don’t leave a can of soda on your dashboard, even if you think the can is really cold and surely it isn’t going to heat up and explode all over the inside of your windshield before you get back? Because it is. Trust us. It totally is. That...uh...that happened to a guy we know. You don’t know him. He’s not from here.
We at Nordgren Automotive hope the above tips will be useful for you as you drive this summer. If your AC needs work or if you’re having trouble getting the soda out of your vents (we warned you!), give us a call to schedule an appointment at (763) 703-1365.