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Our guide to beating the heat when you haven't got air con

Our guide to beating the heat when you haven't got air con

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There’s always two types of people in Britain when the mercury starts to rise.

There are those of us who embrace the heat and hate to moan about it because we spend the rest of the year moaning that it’s freezing or miserable. 

Then there’s the other type who channel their inner Maggie Smith to let everyone know how much they can’t cope with the heat. You know the ones who constantly moan that they “can’t breathe” or “there’s no air” or the “it wasn’t this hot when we went to Benidorm, was it Terry?” Crowd, or the classic “I like it warm, but I don’t like it this warm” –  try not to say that in your best Peter Kay voice.


But one thing we can all agree on, when it comes to the great British scorching-time is, it’s no fun when you don’t have air con in the car! 

Ahh air con, the glorious little button that can take any summer journey from feeling like you’re just rolling up Satan him self’s driveway, to a relaxing drift across a cooling cloud.

However, if you don’t have God’s own creation of air con in your car, then the commute can be pretty sticky. So we’ve come up with 4 sure-fire ways of keeping you cool without the magic button.

(sorry for mentioning fire there)


  1. Window down

As old as summer itself, rolling down the window has always been our way of beating the heat. In fact, we’re pretty sure somewhere deep in the Mojave Desert there are cave drawings of indigenous tribes cracking a window in their dens whilst fanning themselves and speech bubbles saying “I’m melting in here!”

This is a technology we seemed to have passed down from our oldest ancestors as it’s been the tried and trusted method of cooling for AC-less drivers since the motorcar started arriving in our lives.

The only problem with dropping the window can be, if you’re heading somewhere fancy, you can kiss goodbye to that dapper hairdo you had 10 minutes ago. By the time you arrive your mane will look like a cow’s licked it!


  1. Water bottle*

Now there are many facets to the water bottle as a cooling implement. Many conscientious AC-less leaders will have the forethought to get that sucker in the freezer the night before a big trip.

But many outside of the cooling crew still fall short of this minimum requirement. That’s when you find yourself staggering into the nearest services in search of a bottle of refrigerated water. Then you see it, the lights of the refreshments fridge, you think it’s a mirage then you clock the price and it becomes all too real… you should’ve frozen your own.

Aside from just drinking, a freezing bottle of water can also act as a stellar cold compress for beady foreheads, clammy necks and sticky thighs. Then if that doesn’t work, just have done with it & sling the whole thing over yourself! Sure it’ll look weird but who’ll be laughing when you’re cool as a cucumber…


  1. Passenger fanner

Admittedly this is not one for the faint-hearted friend, so if you can, you always want to be the fan-ee that the fanner if you can in this scenario.

The play is simple, you’ve got this in your locker but you need to use it sparingly because it’s very route one, just moan your bag off until the other people in the car can’t take it anymore. Sooner or later the rest of them will get sick to the back teeth of hearing you whingeing about the heat and then they’ll have to take action and fan the driver.

Another strong element to this plan is, it basically means you self-destruct any chance of you being des (the designated driver) ever again. And if you want the full blaze of glory on this plan it’s always handy to have a fan-able object in the door compartment that you can hand to your mate in a flash after they agree and just say “here you can use this.” Then sit back and avoid eye-contact. Puuurfect!


  1. Think cold thoughts

When all the above has failed, then you’re left to fend for yourself. The lone wolf, a lone ranger, Frodo without his Sam or Kim without Kanye.

The trick to this is to become completely at one with your own thoughts and mind. Achieve absolute oneness then start to channel thoughts of distant glaciers or mountain lakes. You don’t want to start thinking about cold drinks because that will make you thirsty. Also be careful of thinking about running water, otherwise you’ll find yourself doing that desperate wee run into the services, not a good look.

The one thing that this point does have going against it is that some Buddhist monks have been trying to find oneness their whole lives and still never achieved it. So us thinking we might be capable of it in the middle of a heatwave, on the way back from a meeting about the sales figures is probably a little insulting. Also the other 3 points are much easier…


Whether your cooling process, when you don’t have the abating whirr of the air con, falls into any of these four categories one thing is for sure, it can be  something of a nightmare getting home when it’s hotter than the filling of a McDonalds apple pie outside.

So, in future, when you get to work in the middle of a heatwave, this is your polite reminder to fill up your water bottle and get it in the work freezer nice and early. Then it should well frozen for the commute home.

Then when you get back in the motor after the grind and it’s hotter than Lucifer’s greenhouse, get the window down and start thinking cold thoughts. Or you could always convince a colleague to ride with you then start side-eyeing that fan in the door compartment – probably best if you don’t have to see them again for a while though.


If all of these tips don’t work then we’re sorry, but maybe you should start thinking about upgrading your wheels. At Swansway we have plenty of fridges on wheels in our new and used car stocks, so you’ll be rolling along chuckling at the great un-air conned community before you know it!

Or if you can’t get a new car just think it could be worse, you could be one of those people with leather seats and no AC. That’s some fresh hell which is probably more useful as a torture technique than a commutable experience.

It's not just you that suffers when the mercury rises, you car goes through the rigger too. So why not check out another one of our blog pieces all about how to keep your car healthy in the heat. Don't worry, that piece is actually full of useful information, unlike this one!

*All jokes aside, it is imperative in the hot weather that you carry a bottle of water with you at all times!

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