How to Keep Your Car Seat Cool in Summer

by Jason Brick
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For people with vinyl and Naugahyde car seats, summer can be a time of scorched backs and sticky thighs. While seat materials such as leather and cloth resist overheating, people with budget cars need to take special measures--either limit how much sun shines in your car or limit how much heat your car seat absorbs.

Blocking Sunlight

Step 1

Whenever possible, park in the shade. If you'll be parked for a long time, park where the shade will be when you return. Your car can bake all day long, but if it's shaded for the last hour or so, your seat should be comfortable when you get back.

Step 2

Buy a window shield. These range from very inexpensive cardboard to fancy collapsible rigs. When you park, place the shield on your dashboard, held up by the back of your rearview mirror. Don't worry about your side windows, because most of the sunlight comes through the windshield.

If it's legal in your state, consider window tinting. Even a little shade can make a difference of many degrees in the car. The position and degree of tint is regulated in most cities and states. Check with your installer before deciding on what to get.

Cooler Seat Material

Step 1

If possible, buy a car with lighter-colored seats. Dark surfaces absorb more heat than light surfaces, so a darker seat will be hotter than a light seat.

Step 2

Cover your car seat with a towel or blanket. When you're out of the car, the cover will shield the seat from sunlight. When you're in the car, the cover protects you from the hot seat. Like your seats, a light-colored towel or blanket works better than a dark one.

Buy a seat cover, considering two factors. First, cotton is a cooler cloth than polyester, sheep skin, or wool (the other common seat cover materials). Cotton fabric breathes more and absorbs less heat than the others. Second, as before, go for lighter-colored covers.

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