It is the middle of July and BOY is summer making its appearance this year! Although arriving this year a little late (thank you weather gods), it still comes with a vivid reminder that driving during the summer in Southern California can be painful. This week we reached 100 degree plus temperatures. And, if you check your weather app for next week, it will show you more triple-digit days are headed our way.
Falling short of vacationing (or running) someplace cool this summer, we are stuck with these unbelievable hot days. Fortunately, there is a magical invention called air conditioning. It makes driving on those triple digit days tolerable. But what can you do if you don’t have AC in your car?
The best answer to that question is to fix your AC. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. There just isn't a better solution. Unfortunately, these types of repair might be costly. It may be anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. And, if you had the funds, you probably wouldn't be googling something that found this article. So, what if you do not have money to fix your AC? What do you do? Fear not! There are some economically efficient ways to survive the hot summer drives without AC.
First, make sure your AC is actually broken. Now, I get it, I am as excited about taking my car to a mechanic, as I am about going to the dentist. So I understand the hesitation. To alleviate some of the nervousness, ask some of your family and friends for referrals to a trusted mechanic. Rest assured, there are plenty of honest mechanics out there. The bottom line is, you want to make sure the AC is, in fact, broken and it's not a different problem with a more affordable solution.
Things you can buy that is less costly than fixing your AC
Tint Your Car
The next best thing to AC is tinting your car. No, not really. But tinting your car can help lower the temperature of your car. It may lower it down to 10-15 degrees. So, depending on the amount it will cost to fix your AC in your car, this might be the better, cost-efficient solution.
Using a car-cover might not be the most fashionable statement. But I am sure, fashion isn't on the top of your priority list right now. Car covers are pretty affordable and it is quick and easy to install and remove. Now, if your work or home parking lot offers shade, then you can pass on the car cover.
Car Sun Shades
Car sun shades are those things that you see covering the front windshield of a car. They are incredibly cheap. You can probably pick one up at the local dollar store. Grab two while you are there. One, for the front of your car, and the other for the back windshield. Car sun shades are designed to keep harsh heat and UV rays out. It can help to prevent your car from heating up and ruining the interior.
There is this amazing invention called Icy Breeze. To be honest, I laughed when I first saw it. A parent brought one to a little league baseball game, I attended last month. Then, during the 6th inning, the temperature rose to 102 degrees. I was sweating, but she and her friends seem to be surviving nicely. So, for about $256 (shop around), you can purchase this portable AC for your car. This might be a good option if you’re car has multiple passengers. The website claims to lower the temperature down to 35 degrees cooler.
Things you can do without a purchase
Drink A LOT of water
Drinking plenty of water has many benefits and drinking ice cold water will be your best defense against a hot drive. Freeze a few water bottles and then bring them on your drive. If you are not a big water drinker, then, this is the time to make some changes. You can try drinking soda or other sugary drinks, but it isn't the healthiest choice and might cause harm. Water will keep you hydrated consequently lowering your overall body temperature and keeping you cool.
I lived without AC one summer, and it was miserable. In order for me to fall asleep, somewhat comfortably, I would place a frozen water bottle that was wrapped in a towel between my pillow and the back of my neck. It made those 90 degree nights bearable. While this worked for me to fall asleep, it might be difficult to keep a water bottle behind your neck in place while you are driving. Instead, try to place a cold-damp towel on the back of your neck. Cooling your neck will do wonders on a hot day. Go one step further by freeze a damp-towel for a few hours (or more).
Drive During Cooler Times
Another thing you can do is try driving during the cooler hours of the day. Open your favorite weather app, and it should give you the temperature reading by the hour. If it doesn't, then find another app. Most of them give you the hour-by-hour reading. Try driving during the colder parts of the day. This might not always be an option. But if you can choose to go to work 30 minutes earlier to beat the heat, then choose that option. Sometimes the temperature can drop 5 degrees within the hour. This will be especially helpful if you are forced to drive facing the sun.
If you have leather seats, then you know how incredibly hot they can get. To protect yourself from getting second-degree burns as you are driving, place a barrier between you and those seats. A towel will probably be the best option as a barrier. An additional benefit is it can protect the integrity of your seats from the hot sun. Hopefully, this will help prevent the leather from cracking or other damage.
Park in the Shade
When at all possible, PARK UNDER THE SHADE. Even if your AC works, park under a shade anyway. It's amazing what a little shade can do. In addition to keeping your car cooler, shade can protect the paint and the interior of your car. Even with the windows down, “a car’s interior temperature can rise approximately 40 degrees within one hour”.
If your AC system is broken in your car, this summer, I feel for you! AC is very much a commodity, dare I say necessity, in Southern California. Needless to say, living without it can be very painful. Hopefully, these tips will help you survive this summer without AC. I really hope you won't endure the same issue next summer.