Using our site means you agree to the use of cookies and other technologies. Our cookie policy.

How to keep a car cool in summer with and without aircon

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 11 months ago

4 min read

  • Advice
  • Maintenance
  • howto

WhoCanFixMyCar offers advice on how to keep your car cool when temperatures soar.

Hot summer days can lift your mood and make you smile…until you climb into your car and it feels like a hundred degrees. If you’re lucky, you can turn the aircon on and bask in a stream of ice-cold air. 

But what if your car doesn’t have air conditioning? This guide explains how to keep cool in your car this summer, both with and without aircon.


How to keep a car cool without aircon

The fastest way to cool a hot car

Should you open car windows before turning on the AC?

How can I keep my car cool in the summer while parked?

Do sunshades work?

Does a sunroof make a car hotter?

What is the coolest part of a car?

How long does it take a car to cool down?

How to keep a car cool without aircon

Turning your car’s air vents on without an aircon system will only push more hot air around, so you’ll have to take some extra steps to keep cool.


1. Use a sunshade 

One of the best things you can do if your car doesn’t have aircon (even if it does!) is to purchase sun shades for the windows and windscreen. These will block harsh rays from direct sunlight that usually heat your car’s interior.

2. Park in the shade

Think carefully about where you’re going to park your car. Even if it means walking a bit further, finding a spot in the shade will ensure you don’t have to drive off in a car that feels more like an oven.

3. Cover your dashboard and steering wheel

When the sun shines directly into your car, your dashboard and steering wheel bear the brunt of absorbing the heat, so they become unbearable to touch. You can buy dashboard covers online, but if you want to save money, you can use a towel or piece of fabric instead.

4. Leave your windows slightly open 

Still air is your enemy! Try opening your windows slightly so fresh air can circulate in the car.

5. Use a sealed ice pack or cold, damp cloth held in front of the air vents 

This is a great hack as long as you’ve got time to prepare the ice or cloth before your journey. Holding an ice pack in front of your air vents and turning them up will make the air a lot cooler - it’s almost as good as having air conditioning!

6. Purchase solar fans

You can leave solar fans in your car while it’s parked, so next time you need to drive somewhere, the interior will already be cool.

What is the fastest way to cool a hot car?

The fastest way to cool your car down is to use air conditioning if you have it. First, open all the windows and allow fresh air to flow into the car. After a couple of minutes, close the windows and start your AC, making sure you draw air in from outside the car rather than recirculating it.

If you don’t have an aircon system, open all the windows and try some good old-fashioned door fanning. Swing the door open and closed a few times to get rid of the hot air that has built up inside the car.

Should you open car windows before turning on the AC?

Yes! One of the most common mistakes drivers make is turning the AC up full blast as soon as they get into their car. 

Instead, you need to open the windows and allow fresh air to circulate for a minute. Then you can close them again and turn your aircon on.

How can I keep my car cool in the summer while parked?

You have two options. The first is to find a space that’s in the shade. You should also consider where the sun rises and sets; if you’re parking for the night, try to face west so the sun won’t shine directly through your windscreen when it rises in the morning.

Alternatively, you could use a sun shade to cover your windscreen and windows.

Do sunshades work?

Sun shades work by blocking the sun’s UV rays. This helps to keep the car cool.

It’s worth noting that sun shades can be reflective or non-reflective. Reflective shades work best with the shiny side facing the sun; non-reflective shades need the black side facing into the vehicle.


Does a sunroof make a car hotter?

While a sunroof has many advantages, it will make your car hotter because it allows the sun to shine in directly from above. You could use a sunshade to block excess light during particularly hot periods.

What is the coolest part of a car?

Some people will tell you the boot is the coolest place, while others argue it’s the floor. The best area is underneath the back of the two front seats because it is darker and cooler.

The boot may get hot because it is near the exhaust, and sunlight will get in through the rear window.

How to keep food cold in a car

  • Use insulated cool bags

  • Keep cold items together

  • Pack ice

  • Place the bags under the back of the two front seats

  • Always keep bags out of sunlight

  • Park in the shade


How to keep a dog cool in the car

  • Keep a window open 

  • Maintain constant airflow

  • Buy a cooling pad/bandana 

  • Take water to keep your pet hydrated

  • Provide shade


Check out this guide for more tips on travelling with a pet.

How to keep a baby cool in your car with no AC

Travelling during the day when the sun is most powerful in a car with no AC is not a good idea when you have a baby. Try to drive during the early morning or evening when it is cooler. 


Make sure you keep your windows open, with constant fresh air flow. You may want to use a sunshade on the window beside your baby, and it’s a good idea to invest in some solar fans or alternative methods of cooling your car without AC.

How long does it take a car to cool down?

For an overheated engine to cool down, it takes around thirty minutes.

The time it takes for your car's interior to become completely cool after you turn the aircon on should be around five minutes.

Is your car's aircon not blowing cold air anymore? Don't settle for sweat. Book an aircon regas today.