By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
The heat is on … in your car
car heat

Nearly 61 million people took to the roads this Fourth of July, up from about 58 million travelers in 2023, according to AAA.

But whether you’re on a long trip or a short one during these summer days, the inside of your car can heat up quickly.

According to, the inside of your car can increase 10 to 20 degrees within 10 minutes — about the length of a quick trip to the grocery store. After 60 minutes in the sun, the average interior temperature of a car is 43 degrees hotter than outside. After 90 minutes, the average temperature is 48 degrees hotter.

And when the outside temperature is hovering around 100 degrees, not uncommon for a Central Valley summer, the inside of your car could exceed 140 degrees and feel like a convection oven until the A/C takes effect.

Other than the roof and supports, much of the top portion of any car is made of glass, and glass allows sunlight to pass through easily. Much of the heat inside a car is absorbed by the seats and dashboards, and does not easily pass back through the glass.

In effect, your vehicle becomes a greenhouse on wheels.

Remember, children are even more vulnerable to extreme heat. The number of child hot-car deaths for 2023 was 29. So far in 2024, seven deaths have been reported. On average, 37 children under the age of 15 die each year from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle.

As triple digits continue to impact the region, here are a few tips for keeping your car cool as we wind the way through the summer months.

If possible, park in a shady spot at home or in public parking lots.

Leave the windows cracked slightly to allow for circulation of air. Consider a solar-power car fan to help with air movement.

Use a sunshade in your window, and covers for your dashboard, seats and steering wheel.

Limit stops to 10 to 15 minutes.

Limit drive time to early morning or evening hours, if possible.

Bring a bottle of water with you for your trip.

Turn on your car’s A/C and let the car cool before entering.