How to Stay Warm When Your Car Heater Is Not Working (2023)

Driving

  • Jan 22,2018

How to Stay Warm When Your Car Heater Is Not Working (1) How to Stay Warm When Your Car Heater Is Not Working (2)

Winter temperatures can be brutal on their own, but there’s nothing worse than getting ready for a drive and realizing your car heater is not working. Of course, the ideal solution would be to get your car heater fixed ASAP, but schedules and finances can sometimes make that tough. Fortunately, there are a few other budget-friendly ways to keep warm until you can take your vehicle in for heater repair.

1. Park in the garage.

It may be uncomfortably cold outside, but chances are good that temperatures will be at least a few degrees warmer inside a garage. Park in a garage or covered space to shield your car from the winter elements that can make interior temperatures drop.

2. Cover the windshield.

Until you can head to the shop for car heater repair, you won’t have help from your defroster when scraping ice and snow off the windshield. If parking in a covered location isn’t possible, you can still save yourself from scraping ice or snow off your windshield in miserable temperatures.

(Video) How to Fix a Car with No Heat (Easy)

Buy a windshield cover at a big box retailer or online for less than $15 (like this one from Walmart), then use it to protect the front windshield of your car. All you’ll need to do is shake off anything that accumulates on top of the cover and you’ll be on your way—no scraping or shivering required.

And if your windshield wipers get frozen in place? Try these quick fixes for frozen wiper blades.

3. Stock up on hand warming packets.

Purchase chemical hand warming packets in bulk and keep several in your car. These small warming packets are the perfect size to slip into a glove or pants pocket to create heat close to your body (and keep your hands comfortably warm as you drive). The warmers won’t activate until you open the individual packaging—meaning they can stay in your car all the time and will still work just fine when you need them.

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4. Buy a heater or seat cover that plugs into your car.

Your car heater may not be working, but that doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck. A small 12V heater or a heated seat cover that plugs into your car’s interior power socket can deliver some much-needed coziness while you drive. Amazon carries heated seat covers for about $20—a small price to pay for the benefit of full body warmth!

5. Keep blankets in the back seat.

Don’t forget about ways to keep your passengers warm, too! Stash a few thick blankets in the back seat so everyone can be cozy.

6. Take along a warm beverage.

There’s no better way to combat winter chill than a steaming cup of coffee or cocoa. Crank up the coffee pot before you hit the road and warm up from the inside out.

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Even with a few temporary solutions for keeping warm, a broken car heater can still make for a miserable drive. When quick fixes don’t quite cut it, head to your local Firestone Complete Auto Care for top-notch car heater repair. Have your heat fixed the right way—the first time—at your nearest location today.

Firestone Complete Auto Care does not endorse and is not affiliated with any of the other companies, products or apps listed in this article. Any references to third party products are subject to change without notice. Trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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FAQs

How can I make my car warmer? ›

Here's what you should do.
  1. Make sure your vehicle is in a safe spot. It should be out in the open air, not in a garage.
  2. Turn on the vehicle and defroster. The defroster will help clear the window while the engine warms up. ...
  3. Let the engine run for 30 seconds. ...
  4. Start slowly and take it easy for the first 5-15 minutes.
Feb 3, 2021

What's the quickest way to heat up your car heater? ›

TURN THE TEMPERATURE TO COLD AND TURN OFF THE FAN

Yes, that may seem backward but that's how a cars heating/cooling system works. Then, after driving for a bit, turn it to hot and turn on the fan. It'll get hotter faster this way, than if you were to get in and turn it to hot with fans on full.

What to do if the heat in your car isn't working? ›

Ways to Fix Your Heat Issues at Home
  1. Let your vehicle's engine cool for 15 to 20 minutes, remove the radiator cap, and use a funnel to safely pour coolant.
  2. Fill your new coolant until the reservoir is full. ...
  3. After you've properly filled the coolant, replace the radiator cap and start the car to see it the heat comes on.

How can I heat my car while living in it? ›

The absolute best way to keep your car warm overnight is to insulate it as best as possible. This means that you can either use the car's heating system or a portable electric heater, to heat the car up before you go to bed.

Why is my car blowing cold air when the heat is on? ›

Low Coolant Level

The coolant (usually a mixture of water and antifreeze) in your engine doesn't just work to keep the engine from overheating: It's also the source of heat supporting the heating system. If there isn't enough coolant in your system, the heater core will blow cold air into your car.

How do you warm up if you don't have a heater? ›

10 Ways to Warm Up at Home Without Turning on the Heat
  1. Close up any cracks in your window frame. ...
  2. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan. ...
  3. Invest in the best blankets. ...
  4. Make your curtains work harder. ...
  5. Use draft stoppers on your doors. ...
  6. Cover your floors with rugs. ...
  7. Prevent drafts around electric outlets.
Dec 18, 2015

Can you drive a car without heat? ›

Driving a car on a cold day with no heat is annoying and a safety hazard. If it's because of air bubbles, here's what you can do. Even in warm climates, a working car heater is much appreciated on chilly mornings. And in cold climates, a properly functioning heating system is essential.

Why does my car struggle in the heat? ›

If your engine gets too hot, certain vapours can cause obstructions, which can make it harder for fuel to circulate. This, of course, will make it more difficult for your car to start. This isn't really a problem with newer models, as most new cars are fitted with fuel injectors.

How do you survive a cold car? ›

If another person is in the car with you, huddle for warmth. Use extra layers, such as removable floor mats or even a paper map, to help trap more body heat, the American Red Cross advises. You can also run the engine for about 10 minutes every hour to keep warm, says the Red Cross.

How cold is too cold to sleep in car? ›

Think of your car like you would a tent. If you have a 15°F sleeping bag, your lower limit for sleeping in a car in winter should be around 15°F.

Can a phone over heat in a car? ›

Since the interior of a car can get hotter than it is outside, your phone could overheat and destroy your battery. Store your phone in the center console or in the trunk so it is away from windows where sunlight cannot reach it. Park in a location that receives a lot of shade rather than in the sun if you are able.

How do you stay warm in an extreme cold? ›

6 cost-effective ways to keep the heat in
  1. Layer up. Wearing lots of layers, rather than one thick piece of clothing, is a smart way to keep warm in winter. ...
  2. Keep draughts out and heat in. ...
  3. Be clever with heating. ...
  4. Make warming food and drinks. ...
  5. Get moving. ...
  6. Check what support you can get.

How much does it cost to fix a car heater blowing cold air? ›

Based on whether you fix the car heater core yourself or with the help of a professional, the cost to fix it varies. Suppose you fix it by hiring a professional, the total cost range between $800 and $1,000. For fixing the issue by yourself, the cost ranges from $100 to $300.

Do car heaters use fuel? ›

To put it simply, your car heater does actually use some fuel. However, the heater utilises excess heat formed during engine operation, so the amount used is negligible. When the internal combustion engine is running, the heater in your vehicle obtains heat from the car cooling system.

Why is my heater suddenly blowing cold air? ›

A clogged filter is one of the leading reasons for a heater blowing cold air. But even if you swap the air filter with a brand new one, dirt and debris can still be found within the unit. This could eventually lead to overheating. If your furnace looks pretty dirty, call an HVAC provider for a professional clean.

How do you make a homemade heater? ›

How to Make a Stoneware Heater
  1. Put 3-4 candles on a tray and light them up.
  2. Position two bricks on either side of the tray and two behind the tray.
  3. Take the ceramic bowl and put it upside down on the tray. ...
  4. Place the small fan on the bricks behind the tray.
  5. Turn on the fan, and your setup is complete!
Dec 28, 2022

Can a candle keep you warm in a car? ›

Empty coffee can, pillar candle, matches and lighter

If your family becomes stranded, lighting the candle will provide light and some warmth. The metal can keeps the flame protected and will also conduct heat from the flame that can be used to keep hands warm.

Can you drive a car without heat in the winter? ›

(WEAU) - Extremely cold temperatures can take a toll on your vehicle, especially if it's been sitting outside. Experts recommend you let it warm up before driving it. They say this helps get the fluids properly flowing. Auto professionals also say it's a good idea to invest in a frost plug heater.

Why is my car heater not as warm? ›

The first thing to do if you're having issues with your car heater is to check your engine coolant. Make sure to do this when your engine has cooled down to avoid being burned. If your coolant level is too low, there won't be enough hot liquid in the heater core, resulting in cold air.

What temperature do cars not start? ›

If your car gets extremely cold, the battery could freeze. Now, the good news is that it must get extremely cold before that happens. Some experts suggest as cold as negative 76 degrees. That said, even at 32 degrees, your battery can start having problems.

How do I keep warm when my heat is not working? ›

Clever Ways To Keep Warm When Your Furnace Breaks Down
  • Leave the Oven Open. Cooking dinner or baking a delicious dessert? ...
  • Close Unused Rooms. Do you have a storage room or unused guest space in your home? ...
  • Layer on Layers. ...
  • Lay Down Area Rugs. ...
  • Start Moving. ...
  • Do Laundry. ...
  • Fill a Hot Water Bottle. ...
  • Drink a Hot Beverage.
Dec 12, 2018

What to pack in your car to stay safe during severe winter weather? ›

Preparing and packing
  • Well-being. • Nonperishable, high-energy foods such as nuts, granola bars, dried fruit or beef jerky. ...
  • Warmth. ...
  • Tools, distress signals and navigation.
Dec 23, 2022

What is a winter survival kit for car? ›

This basic kit has most of the winter-driving essentials. Included are battery booster cables, a tow rope, a flashlight (batteries included), candles with matches, a collapsible shovel, an ice scraper, a blanket, gloves, and hand wipes.

Does the cold ruin your car? ›

Cold temperatures put severe stress on your battery, which is why the winter season is often a catalyst for car battery replacements. The cold weather has your vehicle facing two challenges at once: power loss with slow chemical reactions and oil/engine troubles.

Should you warm up your car in extreme cold weather? ›

Run your engine for at least 30 seconds before shifting into drive and pulling away. This allows time for lubricants to circulate and coat all moving parts. Idle your car just long enough to clear fog and frost from the windows inside and use an ice scraper and de-icer to clear off the outside of the glass.

How do the homeless stay warm? ›

How do homeless people stay warm outside? Some sleep in their tent, or a cardboard box,or in their car, with lots of blankets, and some have a heater in their tent or car. If it gets below freezing, there are warming shelters set up, but it's only temporary.

Can you leave your phone in a cold car? ›

It can affect Android phones, too. Here's what Samsung's website says, for example: Extreme heat and cold can damage your battery. For example, don't leave your smartphone in the glove compartment of your car on very hot or cold days.

Does putting your phone in the freezer make the battery last longer? ›

Anything below 32 degrees is going to start sucking the life our of your phone. That's because the extreme cold causes a chemicals in your phones Lithium Ion battery to slow down. Below the freezing mark, your phone can lose 20 percent of its battery, and it will only get worse the colder it gets.

How long can a phone stay in a hot car? ›

Leaving a battery-powered device in your extremely hot car for more than about 2 hours can not only permanently shorten the battery's life but also damage other parts of the device, including the LCD screen, the plastic case, and the glue holding it together.

How long should a car heater take to warm up? ›

Most older cars can require several minutes or so to come up to operating temperature and for the heater to start working. However, some newer cars require only a minute or two.

Why does my car heater take so long to heat up? ›

A few things that cause automotive heaters to work less well are low coolant levels in the radiator, a faulty heater valve, or the thermostat is stuck open. Have a certified mechanic replace your thermostat if necessary or diagnose and repair other cooling system issues, such as leaking coolant.

Does AC make your car heat up faster? ›

Every time it cycles on it creates more strain on the engine, generating heat. In addition, the engine's serpentine belt drives the AC compressor, which also takes more energy from the engine. So yes, running your air conditioner during hot weather will cause the engine to run hotter.

Does revving the engine speed up heater? ›

Revving your engine will not make it warm up any faster, but it will subject your engine to increased stress before the oil has had the chance to circulate properly. You should also avoid accelerating too quickly until the engine has fully warmed up.

How long do you let your car heat up in the winter? ›

Even the U.S. Department of Energy notes that guidance from most car manufacturers says your vehicle is ready to drive after just 30 seconds of warming up.

Should I let my car warm up for 30 minutes? ›

Some drivers prefer to let the engine idle for 20 minutes or longer to get everything—including the cabin—really warm, but the fastest way to warm up an engine is by driving. Just remember not to rev the engine hard for the first few minutes of driving until you see the temperature gauge move off the cold reading.

Should I turn on AC for heat in car? ›

Therefore, the AC should always be on in most cars (even in the winter). Most cars are actually DESIGNED for the A/C and heater to run together. When you run the A/C and heater simultaneously the A/C compressor is energized and the evaporator coil (under the dash) removes moisture from the air.

How do you warm up fast when cold? ›

10 ways to warm up on a cold day
  1. Keep a blanket nearby. It might sound obvious, but a blanket is a great way to stay warm at home. ...
  2. Use a hot water bottle (and not just at night) ...
  3. Indulge in a luxurious hot chocolate. ...
  4. Feast on fatty foods. ...
  5. Gorge on ginger. ...
  6. Use draft excluders. ...
  7. Try hot yoga. ...
  8. Use the oven.

Which component allows the engine to heat up quickly? ›

The thermostat allows the engine to heat-up quickly when cold and maintain a desired temperature once the desired temperature has been reached. Thermostats are installed on many water cooled internal combustion (IC) engines, both four strokes and two strokes.

What RPM should I let my car warm up to? ›

Sure, it's a good idea to give it a few minutes before driving off when it's really cold, but it's more of a guideline than a rule. I find its good to keep the engine below 3000 rpm till its warmed up.

What is the best way to increase efficiency of a heat engine? ›

Hence, the efficiency of the heat engine can be increased by decreasing the temperature of the cold sink or increasing the temperature of the hot source.

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