It’s that time of the year again when the flip flops and vest come out as we embrace summer with open arms. This is a season that many of us enjoy, as long as the mercury stays below 30-degrees Celsius. Summer brings with it an air of excitement and joy, and it’s the only time of the year when driving with the windows down is as enjoyable as ice-cold soft serve ice cream on a cone. 

When the heat is on there are certain things that we need to be aware of to ensure that we enjoy the season safely and comfortably. Ideally, you want to park your vehicle in a cool and shaded area, but if you have to park in a sunny spot here’s what you need to consider.

Leather seats

Many vehicles now come standard with leather upholstery or faux leather, which is an imitation of the durable animal hide. A vehicle left in the sun with any one of the above upholsteries can become an oven very quickly. It’s important to be aware of this before hopping into a hot car because a baking hot steering wheel and seats can be very uncomfortable to handle. One item that always catches people off-guard and will leave a mark should you come into contact with it, is a scorching hot seatbelt buckle.

Remove valuables

If you must leave your vehicle in the sun, make sure you don’t leave any electronic gadgets inside the car as they may be affected by the high temperatures. You should also avoid leaving food in a hot vehicle as certain food items may melt under the heat, and cleaning up melted candy from your vehicles carpet or upholstery is not fun at all.

Pets and children

Ideally, this isn’t something that we should have to discuss. Leaving any living creatures couped up in a parked car on a hot day is probably a recipe for disaster. No matter how tempting it may be to leave your beloved pets or children in an uncovered parking lot, it’s probably not a good idea. Firstly, the temperature can change suddenly due to a passing cloud, and you can go from having a cloudy sky to a very sunny sky. You may think that you’ll pop out for 5 minutes to grab one or two items but with all sorts of distractions, 5 minutes becomes 20 without you realizing it. Rather safe than sorry.

It’s in your and everyone else’s best interest to leave your vehicle parked in the shade during those warm summer days, to avoid any of the above from occurring. It will also spare you the discomfort of being sizzled by hot interior surfaces. Having your windows tinted will also do you a great service not only for privacy, but to keep those piercing sun rays out whether you’re driving or parked. With technology constantly advancing, some vehicles have a feature that allows you to preprogram the air conditioner. If you have an appointment scheduled between 12 and 1 pm, for instance, you can program the vehicle to get the AC running at 12:55, so that by the time you return you’re stepping into a cool and comfortable cabin.

Gugu Masuku