Simmer Down! Your Car's Air Temperature Display Isn't Accurate

June 13, 2017

Go ahead. You can tell that friend of yours who just posted a Facebook photo of the temperature screen in their car that they’re wrong.

Every summer there’s that friend who posts a photo of the temperature being displayed on their car to complain about the heat. Well, it turns out they’re posting inaccurate information.

In fact, if the sun is out, they reading that is displaying on their car is likely a few degrees warmer than the "air temperature" actually is.

What does this happen?

Well, scientists say that it's because the device used to provide the reading (a thermistor, which is like a thermometer) is located behind the grill of your car. So it’s including heat from the road’s surface in its measurement. We all know how hot the pavement can get in the summer sun. So it’s definitely adding "extra heat" to that reading.

So next time your friend posts a photo like that, you can tell them that it’s not accurate.