In sunny Singapore where the weather can be unforgiving all year round, the last thing we want to do is get into a burning hot furnace of a car. Driving an overheated vehicle can cause expensive damage, as they are prone to breakdowns when it’s hot. Even well-cared-for vehicles can be laid low, if you don’t heed warning signs and stay on top of hot-weather maintenance. Running too hot can degrade engine oil, ruin gasket seals and even melt the vehicle’s engine block.
Here are a few simple tips to keep your car cool on a hot day (or rather, for every day of the year):
1) Cracked windows
We don’t mean literally cracking your car windows. Because windows hold in warm air, leaving them open slightly while parked will create slight airflow. Only leave them open slightly (less than an inch) to minimise the possibility of theft. Also, check the weather forecast to ensure that it will remain sunny out! You don’t want to return to wet car seats in the event of rain.
2) Park your car in the shade
Trust us, it’s worth the hassle. Parking your car in the shade will minimise the regret and pain you feel upon returning to your car. Take extra time to find shaded parking spots under trees, building, or underground parking lots. If your car’s been parked in direct sun for a long time, open all the doors for a couple of minutes before entering. Glass windows insulate heat inside, so it’s important to get the hot air out.
3) Purchase sun shades
Purchasing a sun shade, or a UV heat shield, is a great investment for those who can’t escape parking outdoors on hot days. Not only do they reduce interior temperature, but sun shades protect the car’s interior from harmful sun rays that penetrate windshields.
4) Cover your car seats
Scorching seats can cause huge discomfort. Simply covering leather seats with towels can provide a bit on insulation between you and the hot seat.
5) Turn on the air conditioning
Ah, air conditioning. Something most Singaporeans cannot live without. If your vehicle’s air conditioning isn’t functioning properly or you don’t use it in the most efficient way, it may take longer than you would like for your car to reach a comfortable temperature. To maximise your car’s cooling ability, turn the air on full blast as soon as you start the engine and slightly opening all of your windows until the air inside is cool. This helps to improve cooling efficiency as the hot air (which rises) will be pushed out of the windows as the cool air comes out of the vents. Once you’ve achieved your desired temperature, use the car’s air recirculating feature along with the air conditioning to maintain the coldest air.
6) Use the bottom vents
Adjust the fan setting to “max” and close the upper vents so only the bottom vents closest to the ground are functioning. Pushing the air from the bottom to the top helps the stale hot air escape through the open windows. Once the hot air is pushed out, switch to the upper vents to stay cool while driving.