Keeping cool for that summer drive

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While the latest generation of vehicles have better air conditioning systems compared to their counterparts decades back, the scorching summer heat can still cause a degree of discomfort on a vehicle’s cabin even if the air conditioning system is working full blast.

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To help make the interior of a vehicle literally cooler, Fast Times gathered some tips that, if followed to the letter, can spell the difference between getting hot- or cool-headed behind the wheel.

1. Install the best tint possible – there are various brands of tint for your car’s windows and windshield, but choose only the best, which we need not mention (lest we be accused of endorsing a few brands). Without tint, the cabin of a vehicle will easily get fried during the hottest hours of the day even if the air conditioning system is working.

2. Use sunshades – these items come in different shapes and sizes, and are very handy in totally blocking the sun’s rays. There are also sunshades that resemble tints that roll up to cover the entire windshield, which could be useful during daytime driving, but dangerous for nighttime motoring.

3. Install a dash cover – the dashboard of a vehicle is usually made up of plastic that easily stores heat when a vehicle is exposed under the sun. A dashboard exposed to the heat of the sun can contribute to making the cabin of a vehicle less cool. Also, a dashboard exposed to the heat of the sun can get damaged over the long term. So a dash cover makes for a very good investment, which any auto upholstery shop can fashion one for your vehicle.

4. Buy a vehicle with a lighter color – this is a no-brainer because a bodyshell with a darker color stores more heat, which can result to a vehicle’s cabin becoming less cool.

5. Don’t overload your vehicle – the engine of a vehicle that has too many passengers beyond the norm will have to work harder and generate more heat, which can affect the efficiency of a car’s cooling system. Also, an overloaded vehicle is less comfortable for its occupants, no matter how efficient its air conditioning system is.

6. Don’t wear heavy or dark clothing – although your vehicle’s air conditioning system is functioning at its optimum level, it is still advisable for motorists and passengers to wear cool or light-colored clothing during long drives. Also be aware that there are certain fabrics that store more heat even if these are light colored. Always go for pure cotton or cotton-rich fabrics.

7. Don’t overload a car’s electrical system – with plenty of gadgets available for consumers, there is the possibility of overloading a vehicle’s power system. If too many gadgets are plugged into a car, that could affect the power available for a car’s air conditioning system, particularly for the cooling fans.

8. Park under a tree or shade – doing this will significantly reduce heat inside a vehicle while parked. If a parking area without a tree or shade is not available, then cover the dashboard with any spare clothing you have and leave open a side window half an inch to allow heat to escape.

9. Invest in a solar-powered cooling fan – this gadget is designed to draw out heat from a vehicle’s cabin. But since it is solar powered, a tint that is too dark will make it hard for the solar panel to generate power.

10. Make sure your vehicle is well maintained – perhaps this is the most important tip, because a vehicle that is well maintained will surely have an engine that can provide power for a vehicle’s air conditioning system.

The sometimes scorching heat of the summer should not spoil what should be a relaxing drive, either within the city or out of town. So just follow the aforementioned tips to make sure you never lose your cool behind the wheel.

CONRAD CARIÑO

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