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Six Ways to Cool Your Car

You can't control the weather, but these tips will help keep your car cool

We’ve all been there. On a hot summer day, you return to your parked car after a few hours of swimming at the local pool. Opening the door, you’re met by a burst of hot air that makes you feel like you’re about to melt. There’s nothing to do but get in the car and hope the air conditioner kicks in fast!

It’s a fact of summer, but we’ve rounded up the following six ways to keep your car cooler on a hot day:

1. Park in a shaded area. Or, if possible, in a garage. Having the sun beat down on your car directly will cause the temperature to rise quickly. According to Carmax.com, it’s not just comfort you should be concerned about—the sun’s rays can also do some serious damage to the interior of your car, causing leather to become brittle and faded or cracking your dashboard.

2. Try tinting. Tinted windows can keep your car cooler, and they also help protect the interior from sun damage.

3. Use a sun shade. Keeping a sun shade in the car is helpful because you can’t always guarantee that you’ll find a paling place in a shaded or covered area. These UV heat shields will keep the interior from getting super-hot, plus it protects your interior from the damaging effects of the sun. You might even consider getting a custom-made sun screen designed to fit the make and model of your car. These special shades can be more effective at keeping all of the rays out.

4. Get rid of the hot air. Closed windows trap hot air and the glass serves as a conductor that helps heat up the enclosed space. Leave your windows open slightly so the air can escape—and if you have a sunroof, crack that, too. Make sure the opening is not large enough for someone to reach through. If you leave your windows cracked, remember to keep an eye on the weather—a sudden summer storm could lead to a soggy interior.

5. Start at the bottom. Most people get in the car and turn the upper vents on “high” to get the air flowing. But you’re actually better off directing the air through the floor vents. Hot air rises, so switch to the bottom vents and put your blower on the maximum setting to push that air out. Then, once the car begins cooling, you can open the upper vents again.

6. Use the fresh air setting on your A/C. Using the recirculation setting means you’re just moving that hot, trapped air around your vehicle. The recirculation tool works great after your car has had the chance to cool down, but give it 10 minutes or so with fresh air first, then switch over.

Safety Tip: Never leave a pet or a child in a car in the summertime, even if it’s just for a few minutes and you have cooled the car. Temperatures can rise quickly. Studies have shown that even on cool days, cars can heat up by more than 40 degrees within an hour, and about 80 percent of that increase comes in the first five minutes of turning off the car’s air conditioning.

All cars get hot in the summer sun and heat, but if your car still hasn’t cooled down after 5 to 10 minutes, it could be a sign of overheating. Learn what can cause your car to overheat and what you can do about it.

Nationwide® is proud to partner with U.S. Masters Swimming. Join the Nation today and see how much you could save with a special discount—just for being a U.S. Masters Swimming member. For more information about the partnership, call 1-888-231-3614, visit your local agent, or go to nationwide.com/USMS.

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