Parking a car outside when temperatures are over 35 degrees Celsius (95 F) is not a good thing to do for your car, especially in summer, when the weather is hot.
Unfortunately, when summer comes and outside the temperature rises and measures over 30-35 degrees Celsius (86 -95 F) in the shade, our car has to suffer the same as we do. Due to the high temperatures, which can reach even 40 degrees Celsius (104 F) in the shade, the car that does not comply with some rules of care will break much faster and easier, and it will become very problematic.
According to a study by researchers from Arizona State University and the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine a car that is parked one hour in the sunlight in a day where temperatures are 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), in the car cabin temperatures hit an average of 47 degrees Celsius (116 F). The cars’ dashboard reached even hooter temperatures 157 degrees F (69 degrees C), the steering wheel shot up to a temperature of 127 degrees F (53 degrees C), and the temperature of the seats hit 123 degrees F (51 degrees C), on average.
Here is some advice that we need to consider.
1. Park the car in the natural shade
The best possible solution is to find a parking spot in the natural shade. And here, we refer to trees in general. If there are trees in your street and you can park under them, you must do it there. You should not wonder if inside a car that’s in the shade the temperature is 25 degrees C (77 F), while in a car left in sunlight temperatures can reach 50 degrees C (122 F) or more. The natural shade is the best solution to conserve our car from direct sunlight. But we don’t always have rich trees full of leaves …
2. Park the car under an artificial shade
Behind the big buildings, through garages or behind various blocks, there are shady places. They are not as cool as the natural shadows, but they are better than nothing. In some areas, the sunlight happens to be temporary, after which the shade will follow.
Think about where you park your car so you can catch the afternoon shade when the sun is at its worst. Specifically, if you drive to work, think about places where natural shade or artifical shade can be. It is better to leave the car in the sun when you arrive to work, knowing that in the afternoon, there will be shade for your car , and when you leave, the car will not be extremely hot.
But what do we do when we have no artificial shadow to park?
Anti-sun solutions when the car is parked in direct sunlight
What to do when we have no shade to park under, and we have nowhere else to park the car but in the sunlight?
What can we do to protect our car as much as possible?
First of all, it does not hurt to have tint on all windows or transparent ones with UV protection, much darker on the rear side, and on the front ones as well, but not that dark, although the law does not allow this in most countries. Some also mount transparent tint on the windscreen, which, although not allowed, is beneficial. It does not influence the visibility of the driver at all, but it protects the car cabin from the sun’s rays.
Also, when the sun is hot, all cars must be parked with a parasol on board. This parasol has as its main purpose the protection of the board and the elements inside. We can mount it if we do not have foil, parasol, or curtains and the side windows or the rear window if the car is not equipped with something from the factory.
Although I initially laughed at those who covered their chairs with sheets or towels, in the hot summer this actually is a good solution. Especially if you have leather upholstery.
Cover the chairs with a towel so that the sun’s rays do not hit the leather directly. When you get behind the wheel, you will no longer scream in pain as your skin burns, but you can get in the car without fear. 🙂
One last solution we have at hand when we have to park the car in the sunlight is to leave the windows open about an inch or two. And we are talking about all 4 windows. Because if we leave the car fully closed, the air inside will get extremely hot, but if we leave the windows a little cracked, the air will circulate and it will ventilate. Also, no thief is too busy today to open a car and steal it through the classic means, so we should not be afraid that we will run out of cars. 🙂
The sun and gasoline … are not friends
When you open the cap from the fuel tank, have you ever heard a “sizzle” as if opening a bottle of Cola? This means that there was pressure in the tank. And that pressure is normal because a small part of the fuel evaporates. The problem is that, during heatstroke, this process of gasoline evaporation is much stronger. Specifically, the pressure in the tank increases significantly, because the heat causes the gasoline to evaporate faster.
A study showed that a car left in the sun loses about 1 liter of gasoline/week. So we should not wonder if when it is hot, we will feel a higher consumption, resulting on the one hand after evaporation, and on the other hand, after using the air conditioner. But due to evaporation, many people blame the air conditioner as consumption increases.
Another effect that the sun has is somewhat less common, on the power system. It usually happens to old cars, which still have a metal tank. It can become deformed or swollen due to the accumulation of vapors if the overflow valve does not work. That is why it is good that from time to time we open the tank cap or leave it tight, but not to the maximum.
Cracks in the car dashboard
Another effect that the sun and the warm heat have on the interior is what it manages to do on the board. Cars have many plastic parts, some made from good materials, others from bad materials. In general, affordable cars, or cheap cars, have poorly cast plastic parts, from material that does not withstand extreme heat.
I saw parts on the board, such as air intakes, air ducts, and air hoses that lead to each outlet on the board, cracked like burnt sugar. This phenomenon happens because the plastic is almost baked in the heat and becomes brittle.
From here come those annoying sounds that we do not know where they come from, and how to solve. The plastic parts on the dashboard begin to give up, some contract and no longer stand in their place, others crack and so begin the sounds, the squeaks.
If the seats and steering wheel have leather material, will suffer in time if the car is left in the sun. The leather, especially when it is not maintained and it’s not periodically greased with special solutions, will crack, and dry.
In contact with the driver’s sweat, which is salted, a process is carried out that continues again and again: the leather is dry, the sweaty hand is put on the steering wheel, the salt stays on the leather, the leather is wearing, cracks appear and so on.
Not many times have I saw seats with cracked leather, because of the sun. The sun has more serious and harmful effects on the upholstery than the daily wear caused by daily use.
All that means rubber
Another material that is not at all friendly to the sun and heat is rubber. And here we refer to the rubber we find in the parts of the joint, the shock absorber flanges, the planetary bellows, the brake hoses, and other air hoses. The only ones protected are the ones that coolant circulates, because they are specially designed for high heat, but they would also dry if they had no coolant inside.
Due to the high heat, the nuts, pivots, and other rubber parts will be worn much faster. Because they will bake and in time they will crack. This is why it is best to use full grease before the hot season comes, especially in the areas under the car, arms, and suspensions.
Boiling the engine
During rush hour, especially if we get into a crowded place, and we move very slowly, even a new car can have surprises in terms of cooling. And that’s because that road sector has a high temperature, the asphalt sometimes reaches over 100 degrees Celsius (212 F), and if the sunlight hits directly the engine hood, temperatures go wild.
Under the hood, if the engine is still charged by the air conditioner, also the compressor running, the temperature is huge and can reach 150-160 degrees Celsius (302 -320 F). But a motor is equipped with a thermostat and the radiator has a fan, you will say.
Yes, it has them, but they also have a limit. And a new car, under extreme conditions, may have problems with cooling because the thermostat only replaces the very hot coolant with an equally hot one.
When you travel, even at a low speed, the air ventilates the engine, but also the car, cooling the surface of the hood. But if there is no movement, all the work must be done by the fan and the thermostat, two pieces that also have some limits.
So how do we protect our cars from extreme heat in summer?
First of all, it does not hurt to mount solar foil, to block UV rays. We can also avoid the big crowded roads. The conclusion is quite trivial, although I wrote quite a lot: put the car in the shade and nothing will break. Put it in the sun and expect trouble and discomfort.