8 July 2022 Concept Car
“It’s too hot. England can’t cope with this weather,” renowned weekly The Atlantic recently wrote, “This is a place that works in gentle temperatures and on gentle cloudy days.”
That sounds just about right. The heatwave that has hit Europe seems to affect us just that little bit more. And while things are bad for anyone, they’re a veritable nightmare for car drivers.
In this special, we’re taking a look at the steps you can take to protect yourself and your car from the blistering heat. We’ll help you keep temperatures agreable before it heats up and what to do once the thermometer starts rising in the passenger cabin.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to keep a cool head and focus on what’s most important: Arriving at your destination safe and sound.
Car manufacturers and technology developers have come up with a variety of smart solutions to reduce temperatures in automobiles. That said, wouldn’t it be a lot better if you instead found a way to keep the heat from building up in the first place?
This is by no means as impossible as it may seem.
Sure, the best solution would be to park your car in a garage. But then again: If you had one, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article.
That said, it can definitely pay off to opt for a parking space further from home if it offers a few more square inches of shade.
If that doesn’t work, here are a few more options at your disposal:
Two of the most disagreeable parts of driving in the Summer are
There is a strikingly simple solution for both these evils.
Simply place a few blankets over your steering wheel and the seats. They’ll absorb the heat and keep the underlying fabrics and materials relatively cool.
Make sure to use white or light colours to optimise this effect.
This is an even better approach. Especially if you combine it with the towel solution.
Many consider windshield covers a classic. And rightly so:
They can help keep the entire passenger cabin cooler, not just seats and the steering wheel. Placed directly underneath the windshield, they stop the warming sunrays as soon as they enter the inside.
Windshield covers are made from a coated material offering ideal heat absorption at very reasonable prices.
The downside to windshield covers is that they don’t prevent the heat from entering the cabin. If you combine them with towels and blankets and additionally use the smart heat-beating techniques we’ll mention a few paras further down, however, you can achieve remarkable results.
Most of us tend to hate the cold more than the heat. And so, manufacturers have so far focused on trying to keep you warm in the Winter rather than cooling you down in the Summer.
As we are all increasingly experiencing the effects of Global Warming, it’s time things changed.
And, judging by what car makers are reporting in terms of new product developments, it does look as though they’re about to.
Let’s be clear about this: The Summer is a wonderful time of year. We should definitely enjoy the warmth as long as we can.
That’s why smart car roofs are one of the best developments from the past few years. They allow drivers to get the best out of all weather situations: They’re wonderful to have when temperatures are agreeable. But they’re perfect in the blistering heat as well.
Look for cars that allow sub-sections to be opened to allow fresh air in. This is particularly great outside of city traffic and at higher speeds. In fact, it’s the next best thing to that legendary convertible feeling.
And then there’s the Ford Flex’s multi-panel Vista roof which can turn your roof into a gateway to the sky!
Tinted windows used to be a bit … ahem … shady. Certainly, they either didn’t look that great (too green, too black). Or if they did, the didn’t offer any kind of serious protection against the heat.
A lot has changed since then. Today, tinted windows can keep the heat out of your cabin far more efficiently. If you have the choice, we believe this is an investment that is worth it.
At the same time, legal limits – 75% of the light needs to be able to pass through – are still preventing even more powerful tinting technology. In the background, technology corporations are however working hard on pushing things far beyond what is possible today.
Air Conditioning (AC) is still the most powerful cooling technology at your disposal. The issue with it is, however, is that it uses unhealthy amounts of gas. So, ironically, a chronically high level of AC usage can cause your wallet to hurt and the engine to overheat!
This is where novel circulation technology comes in. Increasingly, automobile companies are looking to separate the energy supply for the AC from the rest of the car. Dedicated solar panels, for example, feed the Air Conditioning even when temperatures are at their highest.
This is a fantastic innovation, because it guarantees that energy for cooling is available (by means of intense sun light) at the very instance it is required.
Automated AC supports this goal by constantly checking temperatures outside and inside the car to give you the best possible environment for safe driving.
Better circulation concepts then make sure the air reaches the most important parts of the cabin for maximum efficiency. You’ll know why we’re so enthusiastic about this once you’ve felt the comfort of ventilated seats!
Technology is great. So are all those simple but effective ideas to prevent heat from building up. That said, there are a few simple improvements in the way you remove heat from your car that can make a world of difference.
Some of these may surprise you and seem to go against intuition. For this reason alone we believe the following section may well be the most useful of this entire article.
As mentioned, window shield covers are a simple yet effective tool. But on their own, they don’t actually prevent hear from entering the car. They just prevent it from heating up the upholstery and steering wheel.
If you don’t find a way of removing the heat in some form, it will quickly spread out in the entire cabin once you remove the covers for driving.
Here’s how, using a simple technique, you prevent this from happening:
As Tom’s Guide admits, it won’t look very pretty. But this is by far the most simple and effective way to remove hot air from your car.
Once you start driving, close the front windows and open the rear windows all the way and leave them open for about half a minute. This will further remove the heat that’s accumulated in the back of the automobile.
As mentioned, AC is a must during the heatwave. But it certainly isn’t perfect.
If you can’t upgrade to a new car with improved circulation capacities, then here’s a recommendation from wtop.net to get the most out of what you have:
“Make sure the A/C is on the coldest setting, and […] climate control is set to draw in external air — rather than recirculate the air already in the car. You then open the windows slightly, and set the A/C to come out of the lowest vents. […] It’ll make sure the hot air gets pushed up and out of the window. Once the air coming from the vents feels cooler than the outside air, shut the windows and switch to recirculated air. Then the A/C will do its thing and keep you nice and cool.”
Taking precautions against the heat is not just about staying cool yourself. There is a very enlightening graphic by Holts Auto which likens a car to our human organism – there are many similarities!
Just like living beings, cars suffer from the impact of heat and need to be treated with care to stay operational under extreme weather conditions. And just like we can reach points of exhaustion or become ill, so can our mechanical companions.
Here are our most important tips to keep your car safe in the Summer heat.
It goes without saying that coolant becomes exceedingly important in the Summer. It is the one thing that keeps your motor from going up in flames – sometimes literally!
So, our simple recommendation is to make sure that there is always enough coolant to ensure the motor is running smoothly. If possible, make use of Organic Acid Technology (OAT) or hybrid coolants which, generally speaking, experts find to offer better long-term protection.
Air pressure is lower in the Winter than in the Summer. So why is it that tyres lose air more readily in the Summer months and when temperature rises?
The explanation is strikingly simple: As temperatures rise, the air inside the tyres starts to heat up. As a result, it expands and starts pushing against the rubber. As a result, the inner pressure of the tyre rises – sometimes dramatically – and tyres start losing air. Which, eventually, results in a loss of pressure.
This is why it is not just important to constantly check tyre pressure, but to also have the tyres checked by a mechanic at regular intervals to make sure they are still in a safe condition.
The same goes for volatile car parts like belts and hoses which can easily become brittle and break under extreme weather conditions.
Batteries are your car’s energy source. Just like our human bodies require more energy in the peak cold of Winter and the heat of mid Summer, so, too, are batteries under severe stress during these times.
Of these two seasons, Summer is worst for batteries. It causes vital liquids to evaporate and creates high amounts of damaging sideproducts which further weaken the battery’s lifespan.
What’s more, the resulting corrosion can damage it from the inside out, resulting in irreparable damage.
This is why it is important to drive even more responsibly in the Summer (avoid revving up the motor too much).
At the same time, make sure to have the battery checked all the time to avoid it breaking down on you entirely.
Most of today’s cars do a decent job at keeping you cool and its vital components protected from the heat.
In the past, there were huge differences between makes in terms of design, which resulted in noticeably better or worse heat protection. Today’s cars are far closer in body type and shape than ever before. Also, technological improvements tend to get used by all brands pretty quickly. Which means most cars are comparable in this department.
The techniques and steps we mentioned in the beginning of this feature are therefore your best bet for beating the heat.
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8 July 2022 Concept Car