By Jeremy Rochow
Published: Monday, February 4, 2019
It wouldn’t be an Australian summer if you didn’t feel a whoosh of hot air every time you open the car door.
You then spend the next few minutes avoiding the seatbelt buckle and playing hot potato with the steering wheel before your air-conditioning finally kicks in.
But how hot does it actually get inside a parked car on a summer day?
The samotor team set out to see whether we could fry an egg, cook a pizza and bake a tray of cookies on a car dashboard, during a sizzling summer afternoon. Check out the video to see if they were successful.
If food cooks, so will you
The fact an egg cooks in just 30 minutes on the dashboard proves the temperature inside a parked car can reach dangerously high levels.
In fact, within 30 minutes of being parked in the sun, the mercury can reach up to 80C inside a car on a 40C day. Children and pets will quickly become dehydrated in these conditions, which can lead to heat stroke.
Despite the oppressive heat inside a parked vehicle, RAA received 300 call outs last year to rescue young children trapped in locked vehicles. The majority of those were due to children accidently locking themselves in the car.
RAA’s Senior Manager for Road Safety, Charles Mountain, advises parents to not let their kids play with car keys.
“The youngsters can accidently lock themselves inside the vehicle,” he says. “If you do find yourself in that situation, act quickly and try to remain as calm as possible so you don’t distress your child.”
White car vs black car: which is hotter?
You’ve probably heard the old saying that black cars get hotter than white cars, but is this actually true?
We decided to test a white and dark-coloured car to see which one stays cooler when they’re sitting in the scorching sun. Watch the video below to find out the results.
In just 20 minutes, the interior of both cars reached temperatures higher than 70C. However, the temperature in the dark vehicle was 12C hotter at 83C.
Mr Mountain says the colour of a vehicle only makes a small difference to the temperature inside a car, therefore the conditions are still dangerous for children and pets irrespective of the colour.
In just 20 minutes the inside of a parked car can hit
“Children are particularly vulnerable to heat stroke and dehydration if they’re left in a parked car, even if it’s just for a short period,” he says.
“As you can see from the video, the temperature inside a white car still rises to extremely high levels within minutes.
“Winding down the windows or parking in the shade doesn’t make that much difference either.”