A parked vehicle on a hot day heats up at an alarming rate. The temperature of the interior air and surfaces quickly become unpleasant, and then downright dangerous.
If you live in a hot-summer region, then you’ve learned that the basic approaches to fighting vehicle heat-up don’t really work. Parking in the shade or cracking your windows provides a bit of relief, but your car still feels like an oven.
Sun shades have long been a popular choice for savvy drivers that want to stay cool. But do they really work? It’s an often-doubted product, thanks to the ineffectiveness of other heat-fighting techniques.
The good news is, high-quality sun shades make an enormous difference in keeping your car nice and cool.
Maybe you’ve seen sun shades in action but haven’t shopped for your own. If that’s the case, here are three key bits of info to learn as you get started:
- Some sun shades provide coverage for not just your windshield, but your side windows as well.
- You can find windshield sun shades made specifically to custom fit your vehicle.
- Dual-purpose sun shades provide cooling in the summertime as well as frost prevention in the wintertime.
Of course, when we mention these key features, we’re not talking about a dollar-store windshield shade. The recommended brand for sun shades (and other interior auto accessories) is WeatherTech.
Why Are WeatherTech Products So Highly Regarded?
WeatherTech takes overlooked vehicle interior items, such as floor mats and sun shades, and drastically elevates the product’s usefulness.
They accomplish this with high-quality materials, customization per vehicle, and a level of engineering design that is typically only devoted to a vehicle’s moving parts.
Sun shades are a fairly low-priced vehicle accessory compared to most auto expenses. So, it’s worth considering a top-of-the-line brand like WeatherTech.
Let’s separate fact from fiction and take a closer look at the features and benefits of WeatherTech sun shades.
How a Windshield Sun Shade Cools Your Vehicle in the Summertime
Sun shades made by WeatherTech offer several benefits in addition to keeping the vehicle cool: fighting the freeze in wintertime, and improving privacy and security in your vehicle. But of course, summertime heat reduction remains the key selling point for sun shades.
The product development team at WeatherTech performed some hot and cold weather tests. The impressive results indicate to what extent their sun shades can keep heat in or out, depending on the season.
Let’s take a look at some temperature control stats for hot weather:
In 90-degree weather, after 45 minutes your car or truck’s interior temp (without a sunshade) can rise to 170 degrees on the dash and 152 on the steering wheel. How awful!
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, when it’s just 60 degrees outside, a car’s interior temperature can zoom up to a steamy 110 degrees in just a few hours.
When interior temperatures get super high, it’s not just unpleasant—it’s unsafe. Surfaces can become dangerous to touch, and the extremely hot air is hazardous to individuals that are young, old, or otherwise vulnerable.
Why do interior car temps get so much hotter than the outside air? Well, sunlight heats up the interior materials, like the dash and steering wheel.
That heat radiates into the air. In a sealed car, the hot air is trapped. That raises the vehicle’s ambient air temperature significantly.
One would hope that cracking a window would fix the problem. And it does help, a bit. But as long as sunlight keeps striking the interior surfaces, the heat will persist at dangerously high levels.
Parking in the shade helps too, but a shady spot isn’t always available. Shaded areas also shift throughout the day. And even in the shade, a car’s interior still traps heat and quickly becomes hotter than the outside air.
So, how much difference can sun shades make? Well, from the example above, we can see temps of 170 and 152 degrees on the dash and steering wheel after 45 minutes in 90-degree weather.
With sun shades in place, the dash and wheel temps go down to 110 and 122. That’s a night-and-day difference.
A hot day is a hot day, and there’s some unavoidable discomfort. But good sun shades take you out of the danger zone and into much more manageable heat levels resembling the weather outside.
How Sun Shades Warm Up Your Vehicle in the Winter Months
The winter months bring their own set of challenges. Snowy skies, icy roads, three months of Christmas music on the radio, and freezing cold temperatures.
On a cold morning, your car becomes an icebox, coated in pesky frost crystals. They stick like glue to the glass.
Scraping away at the frost while your fingers go numb and your car ever so slowly heats up is a tough way to start the day.
Any little bit of warming goes a long way during an extreme cold spell. Using sun shades in winter also helps warm the vehicle.
So, flip your shade over and put it into place along your windshield. The underside will absorb heat, rather than reflect it. Check out the warming effects:
With an outdoor temperature of -19 degrees, in 20 minutes your car’s interior will drop to 34 degrees without sun shades in use. With them, the temperature holds strong at 50 degrees.
While the summertime side reflects sunlight to keep a vehicle cool, the wintertime side soaks up whatever meager sunshine is available.
As soon as the morning sun starts shining, sun shades will start absorbing heat from the rays. This helps maintain a more reasonable temperature and prevents major frost buildup on the windshield and windows.
WeatherTech Windshield Sun Shade: Frequently Asked Questions
You’ll find information on product materials, warranties, and more on the product page for each sun shade. To get started, here’s a brief FAQ to cover the basics.
Are WeatherTech sun shades custom-made for different vehicle makes and models?
Yes, WeatherTech sun shades come custom-fit for many different cars and trucks. WeatherTech does not use a universal design that covers “most parts of most windshields.”
Rather, the shades are designed to completely block out light from the windshield and windows that are covered.
Some shades may fit multiple makes and models. To find a shade from PartCatalog that fits your vehicle, view our inventory. Then select your vehicle brand from the list on the left-hand side of the page.
How do I use sun shades?
Your WeatherTech sun shades have a lighter side and a darker side. The lighter side is for reflecting sunlight during hot weather. This helps keep vehicles cool.
The darker side is for absorbing sunlight in cold weather. This helps warm up interiors. Simply spread the shade out across the windshield (and across side windows, as applicable).
|Sun Shade’s Surface||Action||Result|
|Light side facing out||Reflecting sunlight||Vehicle cooling|
|Dark side facing out||Absorbing sunlight||Vehicle warming|
What are my storage options for WeatherTech sun shades?
WeatherTech sun shades include a loop strap and a hook. Roll up the shade, and then secure the roll with the strap and hook. It’s easy and convenient to keep your shade rolled up and stored in your trunk to be used when needed.