I’ve recently become an authority on keeping cool in a parked car with no air conditioner. On the weekends, I ride with my boyfriend to his plumbing jobs. A couple weeks ago the AC went out. That means I spent a couple weekends sweltering in the van waiting for him to finish each job. I could have stayed home I guess, but lately this is our only alone time together. I didn’t want to give that up, so I had to get inventive.

The car is parked. Don’t just open the windows, open the doors too. Self preservation in hot weather with no car air conditioner requires common sense. If the car really heats up, get out and sit in the shade. You can get heat stroke in there. When I was young, open doors and windows were the only option. There were no air conditioners in cars until I got a little older. Even then, they were an option for the wealthy only.

Bring along a portable fan and a spray bottle filled with water. Sometimes you can even find a misting fan. These help whether you’re driving or parking. Battery operated fans for personal use can be found just about everywhere. Even the dollar stores have them. Spritzing yourself with water keeps your body temp down when the AC goes out in your car. These items are also nice to have along when your boyfriend does a two hour plumbing job and forgets to leave you the car keys.

Make sure you have plenty of ice and fluids. Dehydration happens quickly in a parked car with no air conditioner on. Water is essential for survival. If it’s ice water, you can use the ice to cool off. Splash a little chilled water on your feet for sweet relief. Is there an ice pack in your lunch? Most of the time we pack a lunch for our weekend excursions. I’ve used that ice pack on the back of my neck when the AC went out. It cools the blood supply at the source.

I always make sure my boyfriend parks in the shade. Even when the car air conditioner is working, the hot southwestern summer sun makes it feel like it’s not. I often wish we had tinted windows. We really need to get some car window shades. Meanwhile, I have an inventive way to keep cool in the car with no air conditioner. I use newspapers or a piece of clothing to shade the windows.

I’m glad we don’t have leather seats in the van. Those babies really heat up on a hot summer day, with or without air conditioning. If you have leather seats in the car and no air conditioning, you might want to cover them with a sheet or blanket. Not only will this help you keep cool, it will keep your legs from sticking to the seat. When it come to keeping cool in a parked car with no air conditioner, sometimes the heat is your best inspiration. Necessity is the mother of invention, after all.

More from this contributor:

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