Why Is My Car Overheating While Driving In Cold Weather?

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It’s winter season; why is my car overheating while driving in cold weather? Literally, the cold weather should keep the car cool, right? Well, this is not guaranteed. Cars can actually overheat in cold weather.

Your car staying in the normal temperature range doesn’t have anything to do with the current weather situation but has everything to do with the cooling system and some other components in the engine bay.

Haven said that, what are the things that could cause your car to overheat in cold weather? Apparently, we’d be discussing in this article a bunch of things that leads to overheating, whether in the summer or winter season.

Why Is My Car Overheating While Driving In Cold Weather?

First things first, did you check the car before driving out? Probably, you didn’t refill the coolant reservoir, and that’s why your car is overheating.

When the coolant is below the required level, it won’t flow to the engine to bring down the temperature when the car has worked for a long time, and the engine becomes hot. This has been one of the commonest causes of overheating, irrespective of the current weather condition.

However, since it’s winter season, there’s the possibility that your cooling liquid is frozen. During winter, the temperature outside can fall below freezing point 32oF/0oC. When this happens, even the liquid in motorhomes tends to freeze. Hence, your coolant may suffer the same fate.

Driving with a frozen coolant is very dangerous and can obviously cause overheating. It is advisable to always fill the coolant reservoir with antifreeze during winter. This will prevent freezing and may also prevent overheating.

Nevertheless, there are other causes of overheating – to explain them better; we’ll pick them one after another. You just need to know that because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean your car won’t overheat.

Causes Of Overheating In Cold Weather

Why Is My Car Overheating While Driving In Cold Weather

We’ve already discussed the major cause, which is the coolant; these are other likely causes.

1. Faulty Thermostat Valve

The thermostat valve opens up when the engine heats up to allow liquid from the coolant to penetrate the engine and cool it down a bit.

So, when this valve is faulty or damaged, overheating is sure to happen. However, the thermostat valve isn’t expensive – it is something you could cheaply get and replace.

2. Water Pump

Just as the name implies, the water pump is a vital component that makes up the cooling system in the engine bay.

When the water pump is bad, the liquid won’t flow to the engine, and this can cause overheating. Often times, when people report of overheating, it ends up being that they’re faced with a faulty water pump.

3. Leaks

Yes, leaky components can cause overheating. You may be wondering how? Most significantly, when the coolant system is leaking, the fluid inside will always drop below the recommended level by leaking into the bay.

Apparently, when the cooling liquid cannot pass through the radiator to the engine to cool down the temperature, overheating is sure to happen.

4. Faulty AC System

Does it sound awkward to you that your car’s AC system can contribute to overheating? Well, you shouldn’t be surprised. When the AC compressor or condenser fins are faulty, overheating can occur. Try turning off the AC to see if the temperature gauge will return to a normal reading.

When bad, the AC compressor can force more strain on the engine, causing it to run at its peak, which could cause overheating. If you turn off the AC and the temperature drops back to normal, you should file in for a car AC fix.


Summarily, the question, “why is my car overheating while driving in cold weather?” can be answered in this manner.

The overheating is caused by a malfunctioning cooling system (which includes the water pump, thermostat valve, and AC) or the coolant (which might have frozen due to freezing temperature or reduced below level due to leaks).

Hopefully, the recommendations made in this article will help to fix your car and stop overheating. However, we’d strongly advise that you make it a duty to always check on your car every morning before you take it out for a drive. More so, plan and stick with a maintenance schedule.

Have a nice day!

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