Last week we wrote about how to help your car survive the summer heat, but now it’s time to take care of drivers.
As you can imagine, air conditioning has become a necessity in most people’s lives–whether in the household or a vehicle. There are people so used to it, i.e. spoiled, that they refuse to leave their living quarters in high temperatures if there is no air conditioning outside. But, believe it or not, people have managed to live without this piece of modern technology before, especially in their cars. If you are one of those who still drive older vehicles with no A/C, stick with us to see how to survive driving such a car in the summer heat.
1) Don’t fear the sweat
Once you accept that you are going to sweat – how much depends largely on your body’s tolerance for high temperature and humidity – you are golden! Hey, it’s summer! When are you going to sweat if not in the scorching summer sun anyway? Just make sure you have also dressed accordingly. If you are going on a road trip or just somewhere where you can be dressed casually, pick your most comfortable attire, preferably made from cotton or other light fabric, and don’t worry about sweat stains. However, if you need to be presentable for work or some other occasion, take your smart suit or elegant dress in a bag and find a place to change and refresh once you reach your destination.
For female drivers, here is one more tip – don’t straighten your hair if you know it will only frizz back up at the slightest bit of perspiration. Let your curls shine!
And remember, people out there pay big bucks for sweating not bullets but entire buckets – in all kinds of saunas! Just imagine your car is a mobile sauna and you get this service for free. Or you could make a game of it, like the guys from Top Gear, did in one of their episodes:
2) Hydrate regularly
After accepting the challenge of driving a sweatbox on 4 wheels, you need to feed the sweat. Drinking water before, during and after spending time in a hot car will prevent dehydration, which can cause more serious medical issues. Also, check the colour of your urine if you are spending long periods of time in a hot car to monitor the water level in your organism. If you are fine, it should be clear to slightly yellow, but if it looks like maple syrup, you need to drink more water. Of course, you can drink other non-alcoholic liquids, but plain old water (the colder you get, the better) will refresh you and stave your thirst for the longest. Also, if your mouth tastes like you just ate dust, you can drink juice or ice tea to get rid of it, but don’t forget water, too.
Have fun with food
You can drink water, juice, or iced tea, but really, who needs an excuse to eat ice cream? Nobody! And there are so many choices. Something decadent like a Yukon ice cream, maybe a sorbet of frozen yogurt? Just come prepared with a wet face cloth in a recyclable plastic bag, biodegradable wipes, and a trash bag.
If you enjoy fruit more than ice cream, summer is the perfect time to take frozen blueberries or strawberries with you when travelling in a hot car. Do you like watermelon? Maybe, instead of buying ice lollies, you could make your own layered watermelon ice pops and enjoy decadent layers of watermelon, coconut milk, and pureed avocado. Cut watermelon into bite-sized chunks for something simple and fresh, freeze them for a few minutes before you start driving and enjoy them on the trip. Driving without A/C has never been so much fun.
3) Crack the windows
You might not like getting blasted with air through an open car window, but keeping it closed is not the answer. One of the quickest ways to heat up the inside of a car is to keep the windows closed in the summer heat (especially under the direct sun). You need to let a little bit of outside air into the cabin and just flowing through will cool things down for the driver and passengers at least a little bit.
You can even get away with running the HVAC system fan in some car models to create much-needed airflow inside the car. This always helps for a little while, or until the car itself warms up, at which point the HVAC system will start spitting out warm air, making things worse. But hey, at least you got a break from melting, right?
Keep in mind that the outside air will always be a degree cooler than the inside of the cabin, so crack a window – or all of them – to let the air in. Not every hair will be in its place afterwards, but you won’t have a heat stroke. Listen to your body’s needs, and bring a cap or a headscarf if you don’t want to worry about your hair.
Items you can use to cool down in the car
When you need to survive driving without air conditioning, you want something to keep the water, ice cream, and frozen fruits cold. As an experienced driver of an older vehicle, you will always have a hard-sided cooler with ice packs in the car during summer. Or maybe you packed an individual lunch box for the children. Keep the fluids cool with an insulated water bottle or an insulator.
Are you wondering how to cool the car without an A/C? Are you a fan of gadgets? (Pun intended). Then a car fan is just what you want. Options include a 12-volt fan with a clamp and screws that you attach to the dash or console. It works with the standard vehicle cigarette lighter outlet your older car will definitely have.
4) Drive during cooler parts of the day
If you are going on a road trip, you will travel long distances for a certain amount of time. You can benefit greatly from driving during the evening, night or early morning because those are the coolest parts of the day. You could get some sleep when the temperatures are highest and continue your journey when driving gets more manageable. Even if you are using your car with no A/C just to go to work and run errands, you can always get up a bit earlier or go when the sun starts setting.
5) Pull over if you must
A recurring theme here, you might have noticed, is: “Listen to your body”. We all have places to be and things to do, but if you value your health and life, you will find the time to pull over when you feel unfit to drive. On a back road, make sure nothing eats you. In the city, ignore people honking or swearing at you for pulling over. Once you feel dizzy, loopy, weak or sick, stop driving! Especially if there is someone in the car with you. Have a drink of water – not too much at once because it will make you sicker if you are already exhibiting signs of dehydration – and splash some of it on your face, neck and arms. Continue driving only when you feel like yourself again and ready to continue. If not, ask for one of your passengers to take over for you.
Take the A/C unit for service
If there is no air conditioning in the car because you forgot to take it in for a service, and that is why you are driving in the heat, now is the time to take it to CRS Automotive Hamilton. Before we share what our professional A/C diagnostic and repair service includes, do you know what type of refrigerant your car uses? Don’t worry, we do. Refrigerant servicing is one of the most common A/C services we perform, and we know just what your car needs.
When we do the A/C inspection, we also assess the vehicle’s heating units. So, what will we look at during the inspection to see what repairs to do?
- Inspect the A/C compressor belt
- Make sure the A/C pressure aligns with manufacturer specifications
- Check for refrigerant leaks
- Investigate possible system part malfunctions and other damages
- Inspect the condenser
- Measure the vent air temperature
- Do a cabin pressure test.
If you have found our advice helpful, come back next week, too! We have prepared 5 tips for a stress-free road trip for you.
Here at CRS Automotive, we treat our customers’ cars as if they were our own. Let us be your trusted mechanic and your car will be ready for all seasons and driving conditions. We are expecting you in our repair shop in Hamilton. Come see us today!