Can I make a DIY car air conditioner?

The air conditioning stopped working in my car and of course my brother and I are doing a road trip down to Florida in a couple of weeks. I’m saving for a new car, so don’t want to pay for the repair now, but I’m dreading the heat. Can I DIY an air conditioner?

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Answer provided by
Laura Salvas
Answered on May 05, 2022
No one wants to spend money repairing a car they just plan to scrap! Making a DIY car air conditioner is cheap and easy, as long as you’re willing to make frequent stops for ice. Here is a simple hack that should cost less than $20 and keep you cool on your Florida road trip.
Here’s what you will need:
  • A large plastic bucket with a lid or styrofoam cooler with a lid
  • A USB-operated fan a bit smaller than your bucket or cooler lid
  • A few pieces of PVC tube
  • Duct tape
  • A utility knife
  • A marker
  • Lots of ice
Here’s how to make your DIY car air conditioner.
  1. About ¾ of the way up the bucket or cooler, trace circles around the PVC pipes and cut them out with a utility knife.
  2. Insert the PVC pipes and seal any gaps between the pipe and cooler with duct tape.
  3. Lay the fan face-down on the lid and trace around it with your marker.
  4. Use your utility knife to cut a smaller hole than what you traced.
  5. Place your fan facing down into the cooler and use duct tape to seal all gaps and secure the fan.
  6. Fill the bucket or cooler halfway with ice and affix the lid.
  7. Secure your contraption in the back seat, plug the fan into a USB port, and bask in air-conditioned glory.
If you’re handy, you can make your DIY car air conditioner more powerful by using a hard plastic insulated cooler or blowing the fan’s air through a large metallic pipe running along the bottom of the cooler, covered in ice.
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