Baby it’s HOT outside!....and even hotter in your car.   With the summer months upon us the interior of our cars can reach extreme temperatures when left in direct sunlight.  Even with what might seem like a cool 70 degree day outside it could easily be an oven inside your car.  Interior temperatures can rise nearly 40 degrees in just an hour.  An 80, 90 or 100 degree day outside is a blistering 150-200 degree cooker inside your car over time.  The bottom line, it doesn’t take much sunlight to bring internal car temperatures to dangerous, even life threatening, levels.

Interior car temperatures reach dangerous levels in the sun

NEVER leave children or pets in a parked car when temperatures are above 70 degrees.

It seems like common sense yet every day we see children and pets left in car on a hot day.  According to research by Stanford Medicine, there are cases of children dying inside parked cars even on a sunny 70 degree days.   And, unlike humans, dogs, cats and other pets can’t sweat, so they are even more susceptible to the heat.   And panting actually creates more hot air leading to heat stroke and other illness in pets very quickly.

NEVER leave children or pets in a car when temperatures are above 70 degrees

Cracking a window doesn’t work

The notion of cracking the windows a few inches doesn’t release enough heat to lower the car’s interior temperature.  Rolling the windows down completely would be the only way to ensure the temperature doesn’t rise dramatically.  The temperature will still increase with the windows down on a sunny day.


Parking in the shade reduces the effect of direct sunlight although it does not guarantee a cool interior.  While the interior temperature won’t rise nearly as much or as fast as the being parked in direct sunlight, be assured it will still be hotter inside than out.

Parking in the shade helps keep interior car temperatures down

Sun Screens

Like parking in the shade, sun screens and shades help keep the interior temperature down.   They reduce the effect of direct sunlight on the car’s materials…like plastic and leather.

Sun screens help keep car cool inside
Windshield shades help keep car cool inside

Cool off slowly

We all have done it…gotten in our cars and blast the AC.  Doing so creates a dramatic shift in temperature that can crack a windshield…particularly if there’s a chip already in the windshield, one you might not even see.  When you get into your car, close the heat and AC vents at the top of the car and open the vents near the floor, roll down the windows then turn on the AC.  The cool air from the bottom of the car will cool the car while pushing the warm air out.

Turn AC on slowly to prevent windhshield damage

Direct sunlight and the temperatures can wreak havoc for your car’s interior and items left in your car. Fading, deterioration and releasing of chemicals are all outcomes of too much sunlight and heat inside your car.  They also create a significant risk to any person, animal, plants and food in the car.  Take care not to drink water or eat food left in a hot car as they have likely spoiled. 


With these safety tips you and your car can enjoy the summer sun and heat!

Be the first to comment on

"Sun Safety Tips for Cars"

Leave a Comment

* is Required

* Comment: HTML tags are not allowed.