How fast can a car heat up in the summer sun?

Published: Jun. 28, 2019 at 9:20 AM EDT
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In the summer heat, cars can be some of the most dangerous places for pets and family members. It doesn’t take very long for the air inside a hot car to spike well above the outside temperature.

Shortwave radiation from the sun heats any object it strikes. Your vehicle’s dashboard, steering wheel, and seats can become too hot to touch, ranging in temperature from 180-200° after just a few minutes.

These hot objects heat the air inside the car by conduction and convection and give off long-wave radiation.

Just two minutes of time in a hot car could result in a temperature spike from 80° to 94.3°.

In one hour, with air temperatures of 80° outside, the interior temperature of a car in the sun will reach 120°.