Tip Sheet

8 Ways to stay cool inside a car with a busted A/C

Traffic and a broken A/C don't mix

If the sudden onset of warm winds and the migraine-inducing noontime sun aren't enough indication, we're just going to go ahead and spell it out for you: Summer is almost upon us, and you damn well better be prepared for it.

Speaking of being prepared, make sure that your car's air-conditioning system is in peak working condition. The last thing you want is for the sweet relief of cold soothing air to suddenly disappear during the middle of a hot summer day. But if your A/C conking out on you can't be helped, here are a few tips to stay cool inside your car without it:

1) Time your trips.

It's a rather simple solution to a just-as-simple problem. Because no sun means less heat, it'll be easier to make do without your A/C early in the morning or later towards the evening. If you really must head out in the middle of the day, maybe you can opt to take an Uber or Grab instead. And speaking of driving early in the morning….

2) Avoid traffic-infested areas.

Not only will driving during the wee hours give you the relief of cooler temperatures, it will also provide you with the freedom to traverse traffic-free roads with your windows rolled down. Of course, you're welcome to do the same on EDSA during rush hour. But as we all know, tight roads, tons of cars, and high temperatures are three things that do not mix well.

3) Dress appropriately.

Busted air-conditioner? Ditch those long sleeve flannel tops and thick denim jeans--or, you know, keep them neatly folded inside a gym bag so you can change once you get to the office. No point trying to dress like a GQ cover model if you're going to arrive drenched in sweat anyway, right? Go for shorts, and breathable tees instead, then simply change outfit.

4) Keep your car cool while parked.

We've already tackled this topic in a separate story, but we'll repeat it anyway. Find shade or park inside a garage if you can, and leave your vehicle's windows slightly open. If you have dashboard covers, window shades and a sun visor, do set them up. 

5) Use an electric fan.

Not the full-size ones, but rather the mini versions powered by either your car's charging ports, USB, or even solar energy. You can even bring along those tiny handheld units powered by typical AA or AAA batteries. These things aren't pricy either, and you can often spot street vendors selling them, too.

6) Buy a 'cooling cushion.'

These needn't be cushions equipped with fans or ones filled with cooling gel, either. Mesh ones, and even those tito seat covers with the wooden beads will do. All you're really looking for is something that's breathable, and something that will keep your sweat-covered back from ruining your seats.

7) Cover hot surfaces.

Or surfaces that tend to get hot, rather. These include leather seats, leather-wrapped steering wheels, your dashboard, and other bits of your car that come into prolonged contact with the sun. You can use a towel or any other piece of cloth, provided they're clean. Here's a tip: Bring a spray bottle filled with clean water and quickly wipe down said surfaces before heading out.

8) Bring cold drinks.

And a small cooler filled with ice, because those drinks aren't going to stay cool for long without an air-conditioner. Feeling the heat? Just grab a cold bottle or can of your favorite drink and gulp away. Simple enough, right?


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PHOTO: Mark Jesalva
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