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Car Shade

Instead of purchasing a car shade (cardboard or a reflective material) for the dashboard of my car, would it be just as good to put a large bath towel on the dashboard? A towel would be easier to stow in the car and would take up less room.

it would be fine if your intent is to keep sun off the dash (protect dash)

if your intent is to keep the car cooler, by reflecting sunlight back out, a towel will not accomplish this.

Car shades usually go up against the windshield for them to be effective, not on the dashboard. The idea is to reflect the heat generating rays away from the interior. I used to use one years ago. Was a fairly painless operation to unfold and put down the visors to hold it in place.

I doubt your towel option will work very well but why ask, it’s simple enough to try…

A towel is also not refllective. One of the things a reflective sheet does is send some of the sun’s energy back out of the car through the windshield rather than absorbing it inside the car as heat energy.

It’s analogous to why black cars get so much hotter than white cars. White cars reflect most of the energy in the visual spectrum, which is why you see them as white, black cars absorb it, reflect very little, whihc is why you see them as black. You only see what’s reflected.

Car shades were engineered to keep the sunlight reflected away from the vehicle. A towel was engineered to dry body parts after they get wet.

Another thing the car shade does as it reflects and takes up all the space of the windshield is that it shades the interior as well. you’ll get less upholstery fade, hot steering wheel and seats with a sun shade.

Your towel has potential. If it is large enough to cover the windshield completely, you could sew a suction cup in two corners, one at each end. Then use the suction cups to hold the towel to the top of the windshield, on the outside of the car. Then tuck the bottom edge under the wipers. This should work better than any store bought reflectors, right up to the time it gets stolen.

Or blown off in a rain storm

Why would anyone use a sun screen during a rainstorm? ha ha

Oh Lordy, don;t tell me they’re going to have to start printing on towels
"WARNING - DO NOT DRIVE WITH TOWEL IN PLACE"

Here’s another good use for the sun shade…

When anticipating a frosty night, put the sunshade on the outside…over the windshield…and in the morning -BAM- frost free ! :))

To hold it in place ;
Turn on the wipers.
When they’re halfway down, turn off the key to stop them there.
Turn the wiper switch to off.
This way the wipers simply return to park and don’t tear up the shade.

A towel won’t work as well as a reflective shade, but it’s better than nothing. You could use clothes pins to attach it to the visors at the upper outside corners, and stuff the bottom into the dashboard vent to hold it in place. Either way, you’re better off parking in the shade, if there is any.