This post was originally written years ago and it tuns out that a lot of people still come here and then don’t find the answer they want. So here are a few more useful tips:

  • Plug in your car. Not sure how standard a plugin is, but pop the hood and see if your car has one. Plugging it in is like a heated blanket for your car.
  • Get a Worklight. If you don’t have a plugin, you may be able to grab a workshop light and point it at your engine. Make sure you get an old school one though that puts off a lot of heat. LED ones won’t do you any good.
  • Park another car near yours. If your car is in the driveway, sometimes just getting it out of the wind could help. Park another vehicle next to, or find something to put next to your car, to get it out of the wind.
  • Get it towed. Sadly, this may be the only option as cars aren’t that easy to get running again.

Keep in mind that any of these suggestions are just suggestions. I highly recommend calling your local auto store for better recommendations.

There are also some ideas in the comments below.


I got to thinking the other day what would I do if I didn’t have the ability to park my car inside every now and then. Don’t get me wrong, I still park outside and let the wife park inside, but when needed I can park in side. And the other day I needed it. After a small storm my car was covered in ice and sleet mashed together into a white cover over my car. I spent sometime scraping it away and clearing a path to see out of. It wasn’t until on my way home that I tried to use the windshield wipers. They were frozen. Not to the windshield but somewhere else. The motor that causes the windshield wipers to go back and forth couldn’t go, however it kept trying. I drove for about a mile before I got home and could turn off my car. I investigated and realized it was something I couldn’t fix. It had to thaw. So I asked to use the inside parking spot so my poor car could thaw out. After a few hours everything was back to normal.

But what if you don’t have the ability to park inside at your place? Then what do you do? You go out! To dinner or the movies or someplace like that, downtown. In Minneapolis there are at least two public underground parking garages. One under Target and one under the St. Thomas grad school. Both are only $3 after 4pm and on weekends and both are worm enough to thaw out a car. So if you find out your poor car is just to cold or frozen to operate right, just go downtown and park it underground. They may not be nice and toasty but you only need 40 degrees or higher for a few hours to melt that ice and snow.