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‘Hot wheels’ take on a whole new meaning

Debabrata Sarkar | Updated on January 24, 2018

Staying cool: Paying attention to the small details will spare you the roast of the sun




Beat the heat this summer. Here are some tips to make sure your ride is cool and comfy

There’s a heat wave sweeping through the sub-continent and temperatures are soaring to new highs. The blazing sun won’t just affect us when we are out on the roads, it also takes a toll while we are in our cars. We hope some of these tips will help you stay cool and carry on.

If there has been that odd day when you thought the air-con in your car wasn’t cooling quite as effectively, get it sorted before the hottest days arrive. Fix any leaks that there might be in the system, recharge the gas and make sure your blower is working well.

When you use the air-con, use its full range of features. When you start up, make sure you turn the re-circulation option off as the air outside is cooler, use the foot and face blower fans to disperse heat quicker and of course make sure the temperature control is set to its coldest.

Park smart

Getting to work early, to lay claim to that spot of shade couldn’t be more important. You may be risking a few bird projectiles, but it’s much better than going from an oven to a frying pan.

If you fail to do so, or your parking lot is in the ‘Sahara’, try placing your car in a spot where it won’t catch direct sunlight on the dash. This is of course easier said than done and may involve moving the car at least once during the day. If you are sure about a 9-5 schedule, just park up facing the sun in the morning, so that you know in that in the evening the sun will be behind the car. If all else fails, go late to work and leave well after the sun has set, that should work too.

Keep it ventilated

It is very important to keep hot air moving. Apart from becoming exceedingly hot in the tight confines of the cabin, hot air also expands and may in certain situations exploit weak points in your car’s windshield and cause it to crack. In which case, that chipped corner from the little stone won’t be so insignificant anymore. Leaving the windows just an inch open is a good idea as it allows hot air to move out of the car, as it rises up. There are also inexpensive solar powered fans that you could leave in the car, to keep the air circulating. Some of the newer cars allow you to open the windows fully using your remote key. Figure out which bit of the key has to be held down in what way to make it work, because it makes life a lot easier.

Since the Supreme Court has banned use of tinted windows and sun-films in cars, you will need to look at other ways to keep your car cool, especially when it is parked. Get a sun reflector screen for the windshield. It prevents direct sunlight into the cabin and helps it stay a little bit cooler. These reflectors can either be folding sheets which attach themselves using Velcro, or a pull out screen, the base of which should always be installed on the passenger side to prevent any hindrance to the driver’s visibility. You know, just saying.

The heat can make us do funny things at times. Also ensure that you don’t leave any plastics on the dash, especially you smokers – put that lighter away.

Drive smart

And of course, there will always be good old home remedies where you can use everyday household items to help keep your car cool. Leave a hand towel in the car, you can wipe your brow while you drive and make sure you place it at the top of the steering wheel when you leave the car parked for the day.

Palm saver

Remember that scalding hot feel of the steering wheel when you tried to drive away the last time? The towel should take care of that problem to a good extent. Also, in case you have leather seat covers, and you know black is cool, leave a couple of bedsheets or towels on them to prevent a similar scalding sensation further down south.

There are a couple of other things which get affected in the heat without you even realising it. You should try and refill your car’s fuel tank early in the morning. As temperatures rise, fuel thins out and a litre is not exactly a litre anymore.

Tyre check

Also, the recommended tyre pressures mentioned in your car owner’s manual are for cold starts. Black tar or for that matter concrete, makes the roads hot and black tyres makes the air inside them even hotter. Hot air expands and the pressure that shows up on the meter can be 3-4 psi points off.

So check your tyre pressure first thing in the morning.

Published on May 28, 2015

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