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The Car Coach: Tips for protecting your car from summer’s extreme heat

Written By | Jul 19, 2020
Car Coach, Extreme Heat, Auto Damage

This summer’s extreme heat is dangerous for you and your car.  The air trapped inside a vehicle on a 95° F day can heat up quickly; the steering wheel can reach 159° F; the seat can reach 162° F. The dashboard can heat up to 181° F. All this within a few hours or less.

The temperature inside the vehicle without a sunshade actually becomes hot enough to bake chicken, eggs, bacon, and cookies.

I’ll prove it.

On a 95° F day, vehicle interiors can heat up to 181°F or more. Sunshades act as insulators keeping vehicle interiors up to 49° F cooler and blocking 99 percent of UV rays. This is like using sunscreen for your skin and will protect the 2nd most expensive purchase you make.


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Is Your Car an Oven?

The air trapped inside a vehicle on a 95° F day can heat up quickly; the steering wheel can reach 159° F; the seat can reach 162° F, and the dashboard can heat up to 181° F all this within a few hours or less. A cautionary note – do not leave children, adults, pets – any living/breathing thing in the car, even if you are leaving the air conditioning on.  If they cannot open the door, or leave the car unassisted, they are NOT to be left in the car for a moment.




The temperature inside the vehicle without a sunshade actually becomes hot enough to bake chicken, eggs, bacon and cookies.

To illustrate this point:

  • Steering wheel 159° F = temperature to cook medium rare beef
  • Dashboards can heat up to 181° F = temperature to cook poultry
  • Seats can reach 162° F = temperature to cook ground beef.

Sun or heat damage can destroy your vehicle’s interior by:

Fading upholstery
Dashboard cracking
Leather upholstery cracks
Steering wheel cracks
Prove it!

If you use a sunshade, it is easier to resell your vehicle. Why? The resale value can be drop as much as $1,000 to $2,000 with interior sun and heat damage. Interior and exterior condition affects the value of your car, SUV or truck.

Sunshades help passengers avoid burning themselves on a vehicle’s upholstery, steering wheel, seat, etc.

Sunshades prices range from $2.49 to $14.99 (you can buy these at any mass merchandiser or car parts store)

Other things you can do to protect your car:

  • Steering wheel covers
  • Window tint film
  • Seat covers
  • Keeping a good coat of wax on your paint

Pro Tip: Remove the bird and bug droppings as quickly as you can. These droppings can destroy your paint. Once clean apply a coat of wax to protect the value. More tips for your summer road trip. Get all your mechanical and batteries checked. The heat will really put a toll on your battery as well.

Pep Boys will check your battery – Free of Charge.

Now you have the Car Smarts® – Be Car Care Aware



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Lauren Fix

Lauren Fix, The Car Coach®, is a nationally recognized automotive expert, analyst, author, and television host. A trusted car expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics and aspects, energy, industry, consumer news and safety issues.