Assuming your air conditioning doesn't work, how can you get the interior of your car to cool down?

Especially in traffic jams, where the car isn't moving very quickly.

  • I want to cool the interior of my car.
  • Ship groceries at a reasonable temperature.
  • Travel with my pets
  • Make it more comfortable for me and my passengers

I tried the the usual stuff:

  • Blowers on cold, but this is irritating my eyes
  • Windows open, works but in traffic jams it's barely helpfull.
  • As you've already mentioned blowers I won't post this as an answer, but I tend to use the blowers directed into the front shield or towards the passenger seat to avoid irritating my self...
    – holroy
    Commented Mar 15, 2015 at 9:16

8 Answers 8

  • Open the window on the passenger side door for about 2 inches.
  • Rapidly open and close the drivers side door a few times.

The opening and closing of the doors makes sure the air gets pushed and pulled out of the car. On a hot day, most of the heat forms by getting trapped inside your car. So when the cars inside air gets to be the same temperature as the outside air, the temperature has dropped a few degrees.

As to cooling it down even more, dangle icecubes in small bags in front of your blower exhausts.


If the AC is gone and your stuck in traffic there is really no good way to keep the car cooler outside of keeping the windows open.

However the way to have a car as cool as possible is to keep the car cooler when you are parked. Park in the shade if possible. Leave windows cracked, or open if your car is in a safe place and use a solar shield in the windshield.

Window tinting also helps to keep the car cooler, however window tinting often has local regulations about how dark it can be.


A couple of options to just cool yourself, and not the whole vehicle:

  • If it's a short journey, wet your hair and ears beforehand with cold water. Your ears contain a large quantity of blood vessels and are very sensitive to heat.
  • The best way of cooling yourself is to cool the arteries in your wrists, but that is typically more complicated to do while driving. Wrapping a cold cloth around them could help, but wet hair and ears is much less obstructive to your ability to drive.
  • Another alternative is to cool your face with a small personal fan, consider attaching it to the dashboard and point it at your face. Be sure to keep it far enough away that the air doesn't force you to close your eyes while driving though,
  • My question was about the car, not about myself.
    – Kevin
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 12:36
  • 2
    What part of the car do you want to cool? The radiator? Wheels? Or do you want it to feel less hot while inside the car, as I assumed from your use of "airco" in the question?
    – Nick Udell
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 12:38
  • I want to cool the inside of my car, not just me.
    – Kevin
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 12:40
  • 2
    What is your motivation for this? Cooling passengers and yourself? Cooling groceries and other items? The more specific you can be, the better I can make my answer.
    – Nick Udell
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 12:51
  • 1
    Please check out my edit, Nick
    – Kevin
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 13:29

If you have a converter, there's really no need to work around not having an air conditioner in your car, as long as you can run a fan you can make your own air conditioner.

Basically what you want to do is take two different-sized containers (one has to fit inside the other). In the larger container you want to cut out a hole in the top so that you can set the fan on it and have air blowing into the container., and a few small holes in the side so that air can escape.

Then, you take the smaller container, and fill it with ice. Simply place the container with ice into the larger container, then set the fan on top and turn it on. The fan will blow air over the ice which cools it, and the air will escape out the sides of the container.

DIY Air Conditioner source


Carry a spray bottle of water. When you first get in, spray it on dash, seats, steering wheel, & other too-hot-to-touch parts. Then when you get hot while driving, spray it on yourself.


Car shade


Rain guards


I've been combining these two techniques for years. The car shade stops your car from turning into a greenhouse and it keeps UV light from damaging your dashboard. I use it even in winter.

The rain guards mean you can habitually crack the windows without worrying about the forecast. They let any heat that does build up vent naturally and it makes the fact that your windows are cracked less visible. Makes me feel a little more secure.

Even on the hottest days I've never been uncomfortable getting in the car so long as I remembered to use these. They certainly beat my old hack of rolling down the windows and driving like a maniac until the AC kicked in.


Best way is to get the powerful 12V electronic Car use Cooling fan. I have the Abovetek two heads car air fan from https://www.amazon.com/dp/B010CESJTC, it works so well to quickly blow away the hot air from summer parking car. Two heads are 360 degree rotatable so it helps to cool you down and at the same time cool your pet down, isn't cool. The cord is long enough so you can put the fan at the arm rest area to cover both front seat and back seat, FYI.

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Try hacking your car with some white paint! White objects reflect light, while black and other colors tend to absorb most of the light. During the summer, when the sun is out, your car can heat up a lot. The more light it absorbs, the more energy (and consequently heat) is contained in the car. This can make it rather unpleasant to be in dark car. White cars will generally stay cooler than other kinds.

If you're just now buying a car, consider buying one pre-hacked. Most car companies will sell you a white or light-colored car. If you can't do this, most automotive maintenance shops will repaint your car. You can do it yourself if you know what you're doing, but keep in mind that water based or latex paints aren't recommended on metal surfaces; the easiest way to paint your own car is with specialized auto paint or spray paint.

Dark colored car fans might despair, since this can't be used in conjunction with the "Dirt and other marks are basically invisible on a black car" hack. But there is an option which preserves the best of both worlds. If you really can't part with your dark-colored car, consider investing in a light-colored tarp and sticking it in your trunk during summer months. The tarp should be large enough to cover the car completely. When you need to park in a spot that isn't completely covered, put the tarp over your car. You may see even better results with this "white tarp" method than with the "white paint" hack, but the tarp will take some effort to find and may cost on the order of 10-20 USD. Also note that there are some specially made "car covers" which are just tarps designed specifically for this purpose, so you might want to look into that, though they might cost a bit more than the equivalent-sized tarp would.

  • My car is already light colored
    – Kevin
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 7:58

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