When Your Engine Freezes Up: To-do List to Thaw Out


Extreme winter temperatures can cause many sorts of malfunctions in your car work, but engine freezing can turn to be the most ‘expensive’ one if unsolved in time. Far more expensive than the price of a set of great winter tyres… So you have found your car having a hard time starting and working, and you suspect the engine’s got frozen up. (At least you should suspect it in the first place because it has the most dramatic consequences.) Here is what you should do immediately.

What causes your engine to get frozen up?

Except for the freezing cold, it’s a lack of anti-freeze liquid that results in cooling system contents getting frozen up in the radiator or hoses that connect the engine with the radiator. The incorrect concentration of anti-freeze/coolant can lead to the same issue.

Easy steps to thaw out your engine

  1. Don’t run, but thaw out. Many people make a mistake trying to warm up the frozen engine by running the car until it’s hot. The result can be right the opposite. Excessive pressure can cause the radiator coming apart because coolant doesn’t do its job. Instead, hide your car from cold. Move it to a warmer area (for example, a garage) where the engine will be able to thaw on its own. It can take some time.
  2. Place a heater next to your car (if possible). This will help to make the thawing process faster. Avoid a very close contact that can cause fire. Now that the car has spent some time in a warm place, you can try to start it. We recommend staying near the car and monitoring its temperature to avoid getting the engine overheated.
  3. Get the radiator drained and refilled. Now that the car is properly warmed-up, fix the issue that caused freezing in the first place – put in fresh anti-freeze in a correct concentration.
  4. Fall into a new habit of checking the levels of liquids before winter comes. Doing so, you avoid such situation happening again in the future. Doing such checks is very easy and requires minimal skills and a quite affordable liquid tester.