Hot Car Heat Index: How to Protect the Interior of Your Vehicle

Getting into a car that’s been sitting in a parking lot for hours under the hot summer sun can be anything but comfortable. You immediately crank the A/C to full blast, hoping that you’ll only have to suffer for a few brief moments. But, how hot is it, really? Why does the interior of a car feel hotter than a desert? And what can you do to protect the interior from the sun and extreme heat?

First, let’s understand just how warm it actually gets inside your vehicle. Although the exact temperature will vary depending on several circumstances (time of day, type of car, location, etc.), several studies have been done to to find an average:

  • Temperatures rise the quickest within the first few minutes. After just 10 minutes, the mercury can increase between 10-20 degrees.
  • During the first 30 minutes, the temperature rises by an average of over 1 degree per minute.
  • After just an hour and a half, the average temperature increase inside a vehicle is 48 degrees.

These statistics are the reason why children and pets should never be left in a car when it’s warm out, even for a very short period of time. And since these are simply averages, there’s a good chance that the interior of your vehicle may get even hotter. Various factors such as interior color, paint color, window tinting, shade levels, direction you’re facing, functioning A/C, and more can all have an influence on the actual heat index of your vehicle.

So what can you do to protect your car interior from the scorching temperatures?

How to Protect Your Car Interior

Find shade - This may be the simplest way to protect your interior. When you avoid parking under direct sunlight, your dash is less likely to fade, dry out, and crack.
Keep dash clean - Keeping your dashboard free of dust and dirt will help prevent small scratches that may lead to bigger damages over time. Also, consider using a gentle low-gloss detailing product to help protect the surface from UV rays.
Use a reflective sun panel - These panels significantly reduce the overall temperature inside your car (which you’ll appreciate when you return!) and it will take less time and power to cool your vehicle down. Reflective panels also help prevent discoloration and fading of your interior surfaces and upholstery, which can affect your vehicle’s resale value.
Invest in seat covers - These work as a double whammy – they not only protect your seats, but they keep them cool and more comfortable as well.
Apply a conditioner to leather seats - UV rays and heat do not mix very well with leather. Apply a leather conditioner and keep your seats clean to help prevent tears and cracks.
Utilize floor mats - Floor mats aren’t just for winter! “All-weather” mats that are normally associated with snow and cold weather will do a great job at protecting your carpeting from water, sand, and dirt during the summer months.

Keeping yourself and your vehicle cool on hot days is the key to staying safe this summer. A little upkeep and precautionary maintenance at Poquet Auto in Golden Valley or Lakeville is all you need for an enjoyable summer.