Living in Britain, a hot car might not be something you have to worry yourself about very often! But when the sun does shine, and shine with some force, we can all be pretty unprepared for the effect this has when we have to drive in the heat.
What might seem obvious to those more accustomed to sunshine can be lesser known to those of us who are still surprised when the fiery orb makes an appearance.
So, we’ve put together some titbits of advice from us car lovers who have suffered on sunny days. Please learn from our harsh experience!
If you’ve never experienced steering wheel burn, count yourself lucky. It’s not pleasant. This is when you’ve left your car parked in the blazing heat of the day without any form of sunshade. Your steering wheel will feel akin to molten lava when you get back in, without showing any outward sign. Only when you grip it firmly with both hands ready to drive off will you realise this. A slight scream of both shock and pain will probably ensue.
Let us help you avoid this fate. Simply turn your steering wheel upside down when you park. This will save the top of it blistering your fingers when you adopt the ten and two position to pull away.
Shade is good
Being in the shade might be a horrific idea if you’re a limelight lover, but in the sunlight it’s something you should seek out like a bloodhound on heat!
There’s no question about it, shade is most certainly a good thing when it comes to parking on a hot day. Even if you have to park a little further away from your destination (groan), believe us, it’ll be worth it when you return to a comfortably warm car rather than feeling like you’ve entered an active volcano.
Find a shady spot to park wherever possible. Even partial shade is better than none at all. As this isn’t always possible, we would also suggest you invest in a sun shade for your windscreen for those rare occasions when we’re graced with a proper sunny day. It might seem like an extravagance to spend £9.99 on a silver thing that spends 99 per cent of the time in the boot, but for that one per cent when it’s needed – it’s worth it.
Not the weather for leather
We love a leather interior. Who doesn’t? Probably the person who’s just sat on a leather seat in shorts or a summer dress after leaving their car in a hot spot on a summer’s day! Imagine steering wheel burn x 100. Ooh, your poor legs. I can almost hear the sizzle just thinking about it.
But fear not, there is a simple solution. Before you curse the day you stroked that beautiful interior and fell in love with leather, remember this simple tip. Have a towel handy, stowed away in a cool compartment in the car. Place this on your leather seat where any bare skin might touch and, voila! Not only will you not melt your skin off when you sit, it can soak up any excess sweat and avoid embarrassing damp patches on your clothes when you get back out again.
Don’t blow the bl**dy doors off….
We know you’ll be scrambling for the blower button and blasting the air-con at turbo power as soon as the ignition is sparked. But did you know that careful positioning of your car’s air vents can be more powerful than the intensity of the air flow?
Save yourself looking like an Aardman animation or a skydiver in freefall and aim the air vents at your neck and/or wrists rather than directly (and eye-wateringly) at your face. This cools the blood as it pumps through your veins and is most effective in making you feel much more comfortable.
Most of us would think to carry some form of drinkable liquid to stay hydrated on a hot car journey (I hope). But a slug of slightly warm water from a slowly heating plastic bottle will do little to quench that craving for something cold and refreshing.
Believe it or not, water isn’t the most effective at keeping us hydrated. It might drench your throat when it’s feeling drier than a sandy flip-flop, but it won’t quench your body’s need for longer lasting hydration. We’re much better with a drink that has more in it, such as sugar, potassium, carbs, sodium and protein.
The best drinks for hydration purposes are milk, coconut milk, cucumber juice or water with a squeeze of something in it, like lemon, lime or honey. And to keep them even more refreshing, use an insulated cup or flask to stop that dastardly heat curdling or cooking them!
Cool fuel tip
We all want a great deal when it comes to filling the tank. But are you aware that soaring temperatures increase the price of your petrol? Nothing to do with the supply chain, this is pure science. Petrol is actually denser when it’s cold, meaning you’ll get more for your money when it’s cooler.
If it’s due to be a hot one, head to the petrol station before joining the queue for your BBQ bangers and you’ll have a little more to invest in your garden feast!
The window wind-up
Your dog may not agree if he’s a head hanger, but there’s a good and bad time to open your windows on a hot day out driving. Your fuel economy can be severely affected if you keep your windows open when driving at speed.
Another practical tip to keep a keen eye on the pennies, therefore, is to stay cool with your windows rolled down when driving slower around built up areas, but turn to air conditioning once you hit the motorway. The increased wind resistance will turn even the most economic little city car into a voracious gas guzzler!
We hope this has given you a few cool tips to make your hot journeys more bearable when we’re blessed with a spot of sunshine.
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