Your Car Gets Hot When Left In The Sun. Hot Enough To Cook?

In hot weather, those of us who drive are familiar with the sensation of getting into the car and having it feel like an oven inside. A car is a essentially sealed metal box with large windows, thus on a sunny summer day it has more in common with a greenhouse, and in a heatwave this can become unbearable. But does it get hot enough for cooking? [Julian Lozos] aimed to find out, by cooking Icelandic rúgbrauð using only a 2016 Honda and the California sunshine.

Rúgbrauð is a traditional Icelandic rye bread that’s traditionally cooked by geothermal energy buried in the ground for around a day in proximity to a hot spring. A car dashboard gets pretty hot in a California heatwave, so it’s not unreasonable to expect that it might replicate this environment. He parked the Honda on a street in the sun, placed a pot full of dough on the dashboard, and waited.

The maximum temperature measured was 86.5 C (187 F), but unfortunately the sun didn’t stay high enough to maintain that temperature for the required time. After two days in the car the crust was cooked but the interior was still gooey, so the experiment can’t be said to have been successful. He does make the point though that a less traditional and much thinner loaf using a wide and flat tray might have delivered a better result.

We’re intrigued by this experiment, almost enough to try something like it ourselves were the summer not beginning to wane in these more northerly climes. Have any of you tried cooking in a hot car, or would we need a solar oven? Give us your views in the comments.

18 thoughts on “Your Car Gets Hot When Left In The Sun. Hot Enough To Cook?

  1. Back in the late 70s I used to work at a Texaco station as mechanic and pump jockey (complete with uniform and star) in Oak Ridge, TN when I was in my late teens. One of our regular customers had an older Pontiac with a huge rear window and she had towels and paper spread out under it and used to sun dry her fruits and vegetables there in the summer! I always admired her creativity

  2. I once left an apple in the cup hole near the gear shift handle during a summer shinny and hot Sunday just after breakfast or so with the car at a mall parking lot.
    While returning around mid afternoon after shopping spree, the apple was like it had been cooked in an oven!! Just amazing

  3. Of course you can cook food on a dashboard if you have a black or dark gray interior. Congrats, you’ve discovered solar ovens. If you don’t have a car you can make your own oven using a cardboard box with a black painted interior and a sheet of thick acrylic to go over the top.

  4. I haven’t cooked food in a car, but I remember a project where we were concerned about the temperatures a piece of car-mounted equipment might have to endure. My ad hoc measurements came up with similar figures to those measured by [Julian Lozos], which were survivable by the electronics, but would cause the (1980s tech) LCD to turn black. In the end we agreed with the customer that their users would never be expected to occupy a car that was so hot anyway. This led me to look up the record for human heat endurance, which was (ISTR) 160C. Or as I expressed it in my report, gas mark 3. :)

  5. Buddy cooked ribs the night before,so leftovers I suppose,but bonus of already cooked to temp? Lunch the day after,decided it’s a sin in Texas to microwave ribs,and after a short period of dismay,realized it’s full swing summer and 110 degrees average,and people bake cookies on their dash,right? Hour or so later,my tin foil wrapped leftover ribs were literally sizzling, luckily I didn’t have to clean the dash of any leakage. Best ribs ever.

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