Keeping a parked car cool
Roadway Tips

7 Easy Ways to Keep a Parked Car Cool in the Summer

Even during the winter here in Florida, the temperature reaches the mid 80’s during the day.  That means that summertime swelter and humidity are not far away.

Every year we try to come up with new and inventive ways to keep our vehicles cool and protected from the heat during the summertime. 

Unfortunately, there is only so much you can do. So let’s take a look at some tried and true methods to help keep your car cool this summer.

PARK IN THE SHADE

Car Parked in Shade

This is the easiest and most convenient way to keep the temperature down in your car.  You’re already in your car and all you have to do is find a shady place to park. Now, this is easier said than done. 

Here in Florida shady parking spaces are at a premium because there are so few of them. So be prepared to walk if you want to enjoy the shade of a parking lot tree.

Why does your car get so hot in the summertime?

Why is it when it is 100 degrees outside your car feels like a burning inferno on the inside. 

Well the short answer is it has to do with the Sun’s UV rays coming through the glass they come in through the glass and they simply cannot escape after that they get absorbed by the carpet by the seats by the dashboard and they can’t get back out.

  In fact, your car’s dashboard alone can reach temperatures around 180 degrees.

Which leads us to our next point…

PUT ON A DASHBOARD COVER

Meh, I came across this suggestion and thought ‘okay, maybe’. But when’s the last time you saw a piece of carpet spread across the dashboard?

As mentioned the dashboard can get extremely hot in the summertime heat. So given this location right underneath of your windshield, it would make sense to put some protection to cover your dashboard and help protect the vinyl from those UV rays.

Since we’re covering things up…

PUT A RAG OR TOWEL OVER YOUR STEERING WHEEL

True this may not seem like it will reduce the overall temperature of your car. But it will protect your hands from sustaining third-degree burns after the steering wheel has been sitting in the sun for hours.

Unless of course, you use a sunshade or window visor…

USE A SUNSHADE OR A WINDOW VISOR

After several years in Florida, this is my go-to method for keeping my car cool in the summertime.  Even when I was growing up in the much more moderately tempered New Jersey, I used one of these.

Now, don’t get the flimsy thin window shades, they rip and don’t work as well.  No, you need to invest in a heavy-duty windshield shade.

Keep your windows a little bit cracked

Now this one would seem to be straightforward but it is a little bit tricky. 

You need to be aware of local weather conditions before you try this particular maneuver. When I first moved to Florida I was unaware of the daily afternoon thunderstorms. Several times I came out of work to a soaking wet interior.

Other than that just a little bit will do a half an inch or an inch just enough to keep the air moving through.

I have installed window trim on my truck doors, which affords me a little extra protection when it rains.

KEEP YOUR CAR IN A GARAGE

This is the creme de la creme of parking options if you have it. Keeping your car parked in the garage is the best way to keep a parked car cool. 

Obviously, you have to have the right circumstances to pull this off.  I have a garage; it’s mostly full of my stuff and there is no room for a car.

But hey, it’s an option

However, in lew of a garage…

PARK IN A PORTABLE CARPORT

These kits are a nice option if you have a yard and no garage.  True, it is not
Temperature controlled like a garage would be.  However, it does have a few benefits.

Number one, it keeps your car out of direct sunlight.  Thereby, protecting the interior and exterior of your car from abusive sunlight.

Also, naturally, it will keep the inside of your car from turning into an oven.

Second, the canopy will protect your car from the elements.  Over time, the wind, rain, dirt, and dust will take its toll on your vehicle’s paint job.

Third, it gives you a covered area to perform the required maintenance on your car that you can find here, here, and here.

You may just want to exercise caution if you intend on leaving one of these up in the winter.  The snow and ice build-up may exceed the weight limits recommended by the manufacturer.

As I said, this is a nice option if you have the room for it.  These structures are fairly inexpensive and provide a nice temporary enclosure for your car.

WINDOW TINTING

Next, to the sunshade, this may be the most practical option out there to keep your parked car cool.  Down here in Florida it is practically a necessity.

Many vehicles already come with some tint and offer a measure of protection from the sun.  However, in most cases, a little more can be added.

There are window tint kits that can be bought and you can apply the tint yourself.  However, make sure you are the patient and detailed type because this is boring work.  And if you mess it up, it will be on display for all to see.

In addition, I have noticed that do-it-yourself tint kits may not last as long as ones that are professionally applied.  But, hey, if you like a challenge, then go for it.

Depending on where you live, there may be plenty of places near you that can put the tint on.  Not only will it be professionally applied, but shops that do this work will also know how dark your tint can be without breaking the law.

In addition, they may even offer a warranty on the product they apply.  

Other things worth mentioning…


While these items will not help keep your parked car cool per se, they are good reminders when dealing with the hot summer sun.

Keep your possessions out of sight


This may seem obvious, but we all forget.  Don’t leave your precious electronics out in the sun.  First, it’s tempting to some miscreant to rip it off.

Second, the sunlight and the heat will permanently damage your sensitive electronics.  So, if you are carrying your laptop around, try to keep it in its case.

Also, place it someplace that it will not receive direct sunlight.  Like on the floor in the backseat or in the trunk.

Back to covering things up…


Have you ever gotten into a car with leather or vinyl seats after it’s been sitting in the sun for hours?  You only need to sit on one of those superheated seats once, and you’ll never do it again.

Leather and vinyl get extremely hot in the summertime sun. 

When I was growing up in NJ my family had a black Ford Bronco with black vinyl seats.  Talk about hell on wheels, whew! We would keep beach towels spread across the seats in the summertime because they would get so hot.

So, if you have leather or vinyl seats and have extra room for a towel or blanket throw them over your seats for added protection.  You might as well, cover your steering wheel while you are at it.

Final thoughts…

There you have it, a few suggestions on keeping your parked car cool this summer.

True, it’s not going to be artic in there after sitting in the summer sun all day, but these measures will help to keep it somewhat comfortable in your car.

You will most likely have to employ more than one of these methods for maximum effectiveness. 

I like having my windows tinted and putting up a sunshade when I park my car.  Even if it’s for just a few minutes. I have found this to be the most effective in keeping my car cool during those hot summer days.

I hope this helps and until next time, safe travels…

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