How to Cool Down a Scorching Hot Car

Home page cover background

Even phones are sufferingIt’s summer in Zimbabwe and it’s hot. For the past week Harare has been experiencing record temperatures – maybe Zimbabwe really is the hell the foreign press make it out to be. *wink*

Anywho, I hate parking my car outside the office, then having to endure boiling hot temps when I get in and drive. It’s also pretty small, and I tell you what, in those tiny confines and with the sun boiling down, that thing can feel like a sardine can, dipped under boiling oil in a chip fryer placed over a gas burner.

If you know how this feels, those of you without the fancy silvery sun-shades, or the industrial-strength aircon in your overpriced super-sedans or twin-cabs or SUVs, read on. My car’s all manual baby, all the time, and electric windows are a thing of dreams.

So when you get in your car … roll down a window on a side of the car. Let’s go with the driver’s side window. Go to the opposite side door (in this case, passenger side) and open/close it maybe 5 or 6 times. Just do this normally.

SCIENCE: What we’re doing here is to help circulate air by drawing the hot air out from the opening/closing door, and causing the cool(er) air to enter the car. So… be careful. Don’t accidentally jam your hand against the door. Also, do this when nobody is next to your door so you don’t slam it into them. The car-park at TM Borrowdale is off limits, the way some of the buggers park over there!

Now, if you don’t have time to faff about opening and closing doors, and need a quick getaway, say if you’ve just robbed Eastlea Spar of some delicious car-park sausage rolls, you can cool down your blast furnace with a neat little aircon trick.

1. Roll down the windows.
2. Turn on the A/C on the fresh air setting, do not recirculate.
3. Crank the fan up all the way and make sure the thermostat is on the coldest setting.
4. Drive for a minute or two with the windows down, to force out the superheated air.
5. Once the air in the car begins to feel cooler than the outside temperature, then switch from fresh air to recirculate.
6. Adjust temperature using lower thermostat and fan settings.
7. Pull over at a secluded spot and wolf down your delicious sausage rolls, preferably with mhiripiri if you had the foresight to pinch some as well.

SCIENCE: Your car, with the windows rolled down, is essentially a bucket. If you adjust the airflow so the air is also blowing down into the foot wells, you’re more effectively displacing the air from the area of the car with the least air circulation and pushing it up and out the windows.

There you go … I wish you all a cool drive. Now, if I could just get my damned wipers working before the rains come …