:The use of Shadowgraph and Schlieren optical systems is a simple method to determine flow patterns of heated air external to the vehicle at idle. In particular, the method can be used to visualize natural convective air flow patterns at the underbody to aid in heat shielding design. Moreover, air recirculation patterns around the front end of the vehicle can be visualized without the use of smoke. The optical equipment is described and recommendations proposed for setting up the equipment. A video tape of some results is also presented.