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How to unfreeze a frozen car.

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.

19 Responses

  1. Icy Willy says:

    But what to do when the car is stuck outside and won't even fire?!!!

  2. Dick Cheney says:

    \But what to do when the car is stuck outside and wonโ€™t even fire?!!!\

    That’s exactly what I’m looking for here! My car is stuck outside and Google brought me here. The tips are useless for me though since it won’t even start.

  3. Tina says:

    My car is stuck OUTSIDE and won’t even start so in what way does that help me???? None it doesn’t!

  4. Thomas says:

    My post says nothing about cars that don’t start. But here are a few future tips.
    – Don’t let the gas tank go below half a tank.
    – Check the battery.
    – Let your car warm up before driving it.
    – Plug it in if you can.

  5. D Block says:

    Chicago Tips for frozen cars.
    Warm engine block via:
    1 car exhaust positioned up into engine compartment. ( if space allows.) Time depends on temperature & how long the car has been frozen. Do not turn on inside heater or any blower that would bring exhaust into car.
    2 car exhaust positioned to flow up into engine compartment.
    2 cars, 1 snow mobile exhaust positioned to flow up into engine
    1 propane ‘torpedoe’ type heater ( If available) positioned in front of the radiator far enough away as to not scorch human hair or blister the skin on an average human hand.
    1 electric dipstick inserted into the oil dipstick receptacle. (take out cars own dipstick first)
    5 Chemical pocket warmers positioned across oil pan, manifold, water line etc.

  6. Thomas says:

    Thanks for the tips D Block.

  7. cruzinchevy says:

    Thomas i’m sorry that post is dumb….REAL DUMB AND YOU WANT SOMEONE TO BUY YOU BEER DUMBER TRY A/A …….

  8. MELISSA says:


    • Manny says:

      Un hook the battery .wait a few the put them back on.if that doesn’t work try a new remote battery.if that doesn’t work ..cut the red wire to ur alarm …all theses tips come from hands on ..have you checked the fuse box??

  9. Thomas says:

    Sorry you didn’t like it cruzinchevy. I still like it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Melissa, you need to call someone or get a friend to give you a jump.

  10. steve says:

    ill know in an hour or so and i know it sounds pretty scatter brained. i diconnected one of the forced air pipes from my furnace in the basement and rerouted it to my clothes dryer exhaust. from the outside..i connected a peice of dryer flex hose and run it underneath my van. i circled the van with cardboard. surprisingly it made a pretty good seal. just for added heat..i placed a small electric heater under the van as well. its about -10 outside today and calling for -20 tomorrow so today is the day to try it.
    all this b.s. just for a small peive of ice in the gas line! ๐Ÿ™
    ill post again and let you know if it works.

  11. Emma says:

    I bought a jumpstarter for ยฃ50 from halfords you charge it up on your house electricity and it will hold the charge for up to 3 months if not used so i keep it charged in my boot. Clip the red clip to the red battery terminal and the black clip to any non moving metal part in the bonnet, turn on the ignition and ta da the car starts, un clip the machine and off you go!!!! best thing i’ve bought in ages!!!!

  12. katharine says:

    Made a big mistake due to a leaky water pump, I have had to keep topping the water up in my car every few days but have forgotten the last few days to put anti freeze in. Now the water in my car is frozen due to big change in weather. Have you any advice as to how I can unfreeze it.

  13. john says:

    ive never started my car for wk,i tried the day and the tube are frozen any ideas how to get it started thanx

  14. XlimitXstudio says:

    Spray the dedorant on your car engine that will heat it up and 75% it will start.

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