We all know not to leave children or pets in our parked cars – for several safety reasons, with the heat inside the car being only one of those reasons. Without the air conditioner on and without any air circulating, the temperature inside a car can get dangerously high in a hurry. Many of us have memories of burnt legs on leather seats or of steering wheels too hot to touch. Surface temperatures inside your vehicle can reach 85 degrees Celsius with air temperatures inside the vehicle at 65 degrees. We just aren’t built for that kind of hot.

Park in the shade
This seems to go without saying but parking your car in the shade really does make a measurable difference. A study in Arizona found parked car temperatures could reach nearly 89 degrees Celsius whereas vehicles parked in the shade were 72 degrees Celsius.

Park backward
Shade isn’t always available, so the next best choice might be to park backward. The largest area of glass in your car is usually the windshield. Parking your car where your windshield faces the sun can raise interior temperatures higher than if you parked with your windshield facing away from the sun.

Use a sunshade
You can make your own shade with a sunshade. A sunshade for your car windows can block nearly all the sun’s rays in the covered area, helping to keep your car cooler and protecting interior materials from UV damage. Buying a sunshade that is specifically made for your vehicle ensures a trouble-free fit.

Crack some windows
If you’re parked in an area where you think it might be safe, you have the option of leaving some windows cracked. The cross breeze can help your car’s interior stay cooler.

Move your car throughout the day
That perfect, shady area you found might not stay shady throughout the entire day. Moving your car to another shady area after a few hours can help your car to stay cooler and keep it out of the sun.

Use seat covers
Dark seats and interiors attract more sunlight. As a practical matter, covering your seats with a seat cover can help keep seat temperatures more constant. Some people only use seat covers in the summer months and something as simple as a t-shirt can work as a makeshift car seat cover that’s easily removed.

What about window tint?
Window tinting is legal in most of Canada’s provinces, but rules can change, and in most provinces, front windshields can’t be tinted or can only be tinted at the top of the windshield. Rules vary for front side windows as well, making window tinting a sometimes-tricky business. A sunshade can be a less permanent solution to keeping your car cooler.