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Old 18th Dec 2010, 15:38   #1
EvilDreams
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Car overheating in freezing weather

As above, this happened to me today. I noticed the temperature gauge was off the top, and the heaters were just giving me cold air. There's a lot of snow and ice here in Aberdeen and at about 6:30 this morning it was extremely cold. The windows were frozen shut, doors wouldn't open, that kind of thing. Frozen windows and no heater = not fun.

I was only making a short journey thankfully, but I noticed steam coming from the coolant filler cap thingy when I got there. The fans were spinning up fine. As it's just a throwaway car I didn't pull over right away, maybe drove for a mile or so, which might have been stupid but it only has to last until February when it fails its MOT anyway and I have another car so meh. The washer jets were frozen up too and I just put a load of new fluid in there last week for the winter temperatures.

Would the symptoms suggest something wrong with the thermostat or was the coolant just frozen up? If so can I just dump a load of new coolant in with the existing mix or do I have to drain the coolant first?
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Old 18th Dec 2010, 15:40   #2
TaKeN
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Do you have any anti-freeze in your Rad?

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Old 18th Dec 2010, 15:41   #3
EvilDreams
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Do you have any anti-freeze in your Rad?
I haven't bothered to check other than that the levels were OK recently.

It may well be that there's just water in there as I never added anything to it myself.
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Old 18th Dec 2010, 15:44   #4
Janesy B
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Grills/radiator packed with snow?
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Old 18th Dec 2010, 15:45   #5
EvilDreams
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I definitely cleared off the snow on the front grille before I set off....and the heater vents/intake/whatever as I always do that.
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Old 18th Dec 2010, 15:59   #6
Jonnycoupe
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Probably a water leak somewhere. The loss of coolant may have filled the heater matrix with air which is why you have no cabin heat.

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Old 18th Dec 2010, 16:07   #7
littledave
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Water in radiator has frozen not allowing flow of water. This happened to me today whilst working overnight in lowesoft, my journey back to Brighton at 0430 this mnorning was not fun, eventulayy got home at 1430. Be paitent it will thaw at idle, squeeze the bottom rad hose and see if it has any effect on the expansion tank or water level in rad.

Driving does not help as the rad gets colder and start to freeze again.

I just thawed ours out, (works tipper transit) brought a bottle of ready moxed screenwash and problem went away.

Lian Li PC-P50WB - i7 920 @ 3.8Ghz - Gigabyte UD5 - 6Gig XMS3 - 280 GTX
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Old 18th Dec 2010, 16:24   #8
EvilDreams
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That's what I thought when the heaters weren't warming up. I had it idling before I drove to work because I thought I'd prevent this very problem.

Can I just as a quick fix top up the coolant with more antifreeze/coolant? Or do I need to drain it all out and start from scratch?
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Old 18th Dec 2010, 16:29   #9
SB118
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Lack of anti-freeze -> frozen coolant system -> sheared water pump -> no hot water being circulated....

Just a maybe.

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... muslim countries are still living in the dark ages.
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Old 18th Dec 2010, 16:31   #10
EvilDreams
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I don't think any permanent damage was done as it stopped overheating later on in the day. Not sure if the heaters were back to giving hot air though.
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Old 18th Dec 2010, 16:36   #11
4T5
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I know it's sorted now but once the motor is warm check underneath for leaks whilst it's running & just after you switch it off. If your water was frozen somewhere in the pipes it may have expanded & split one. Well worth checking I'd say.

DOES THIS RAG SMELL LIKE CHLOROFORM TO YOU ?
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Old 18th Dec 2010, 20:46   #12
Dogbreath
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As it's just a throwaway car I didn't pull over right away, maybe drove for a mile or so, which might have been stupid but it only has to last until February when it fails its MOT anyway and I have another car so meh.
What a very odd attitude. How will driving it whilst badly overheating help it last until February?
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Old 19th Dec 2010, 11:56   #13
EvilDreams
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It won't. I don't see how you got that impression from my post either.

It wasn't badly overheating. There wasn't steam shooting out from under the bonnet. There was a whisp of steam coming from the coolant cap after I stopped.

I don't really care if it breaks.

Why does someone always have to come into threads here and start acting all belligerent? Do you think I have nothing better to do than sit here with you and go through every sentence of my original post until it meets your satisfaction? Do you like BMWs?
Last edited by EvilDreams; 19th Dec 2010 at 12:00.
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Old 19th Dec 2010, 12:01   #14
iaind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDreams View Post
It won't. I don't see how you got that impression from my post either.

It wasn't badly overheating. There wasn't steam shooting out from under the bonnet. There was a whisp of steam coming from the coolant cap after I stopped.

I don't really care if it breaks.

Why does someone always have to come into threads here and start acting all belligerent? Do you think I have nothing better to do than sit here with you and go through every sentence of my original post until it meets your satisfaction? Do you like BMWs?
Some people just like to twist words beyond all recognition to make them seem cool and clever.

Anyway, I'm going with not enough antifreeze. How is the car now?
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Old 19th Dec 2010, 12:05   #15
EvilDreams
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The last I checked was yesterday afternoon, when the overheating had stopped, but afaik still no warm air from the heater. I have to drive it to Halfords to get some antifreeze today. I've been waiting for the afternoon so the same thing doesn't happen to me again
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Old 19th Dec 2010, 12:07   #16
iaind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDreams View Post
I don't know, I have to drive it to Halfords to get some antifreeze. I've been waiting for the afternoon so the same thing doesn't happen to me again
Unfortunately if it was frozen, it could have knackered the water pump or worse. Still, can't hurt to try
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Old 19th Dec 2010, 12:50   #17
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It won't. I don't see how you got that impression from my post either.
I got the impression from the bit in your post where you say the temperature gauge is off the top of the scale but you carried on driving because you don't care about the car. Then you say it has to last you until January.

I'm not twisting any words, but I just think that kind of behaviour is stupid (which you alluded to in your own post). Why should anyone else be bothered to help if you care that little?
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Old 19th Dec 2010, 13:31   #18
Clarkey
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Don't worry, if the gauge is off the scale it's not badly overheating anyway.

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Old 19th Dec 2010, 15:45   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDreams View Post
It won't. I don't see how you got that impression from my post either.

It wasn't badly overheating. There wasn't steam shooting out from under the bonnet. There was a whisp of steam coming from the coolant cap after I stopped.

I don't really care if it breaks.

Why does someone always have to come into threads here and start acting all belligerent? Do you think I have nothing better to do than sit here with you and go through every sentence of my original post until it meets your satisfaction? Do you like BMWs?


"Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt"

Why bother posting?

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Old 19th Dec 2010, 16:13   #20
EvilDreams
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Two can play the eyeroll game.



My mouth was actually closed when I typed that first post. -100 OCUK antagonistic pedant points for you....so I suppose you'll just have to keep thinking of me as a fool.

Anyway, I put some water and coolant in today as it was very low.

It seems to have fixed the problem.

I should probably check it more often but it's not strictly my car anyway and shouldn't be solely my responsibility but that appears to be how it is.

I just love it how any OP here is basically on trial the moment they hit "submit."
Last edited by EvilDreams; 19th Dec 2010 at 16:27.
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Old 19th Dec 2010, 19:54   #21
YorkshirePadd26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDreams View Post
Two can play the eyeroll game.



My mouth was actually closed when I typed that first post. -100 OCUK antagonistic pedant points for you....so I suppose you'll just have to keep thinking of me as a fool.

Anyway, I put some water and coolant in today as it was very low.

It seems to have fixed the problem.

I should probably check it more often but it's not strictly my car anyway and shouldn't be solely my responsibility but that appears to be how it is.

I just love it how any OP here is basically on trial the moment they hit "submit."
Should have just put coolant in it, it sounds like there is already too much water in it. I had the same issue with my Puma having had the HCV break on me last sept, I must have not got the coolant/water mix right when i fixed it.

2 weeks ago when it was Baltic in York it did the same as yours, water in the header tank was like a slush puppy. Just drained some out and refilled with coolant seamed to be fine.

Just get out and Ride !
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Old 19th Dec 2010, 20:29   #22
Bug One
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Hopefully there isn't any permanent damage. Definitely a frozen radiator. Seen loads of broken down cars round here recently, all clearly suffering from the same thing.

Saying that, I need to add some screenwaah to my washer bottle. Jets are frozen solid.

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Old 19th Dec 2010, 20:41   #23
Fr0dders
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No chance of that happening in the volvo.

It has a "low coolant" warning that comes up when its halfway between max and min, and the moment it even touches the "min" mark comes up with "STOP CAR IMMEDIATELY TOP UP COOLANT".

Very re-assuring, but also quite nagging


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Old 19th Dec 2010, 21:23   #24
Defcon5
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MrLOL, surely its a sealed system, so if you are getting those warnings its leaking from somewhere?

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Old 19th Dec 2010, 22:05   #25
Orford
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You also need to consider that in Scotland the temps have been as low as -14 even -18 in the highlands and most people just throw a bottle of Anti-freeze into the expansion bottle of the car. Dealers just add what the makers ssays for the UK. If you read the lable you will find that the ratio of coolant to water is alot higher once you get below -7 the freezing point of alcohol if its a old car with old anti freeze. In the UK its not often we have to think about how much anti freeze is in the radiator but the times are a changing and its getting colder in winter.
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Old 20th Dec 2010, 08:57   #26
dalin80
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Our other garage has a lovely one at the moment, block has been cracked nearly in two.

Lovely crack going from top to bottom on the front of the block face and several core plugs have been pushed out. neat water in that one methinks.

what if it was your mum that got attacked by a priest in a van?!
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Old 20th Dec 2010, 09:41   #27
mejinks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDreams View Post
Two can play the eyeroll game.



My mouth was actually closed when I typed that first post. -100 OCUK antagonistic pedant points for you....so I suppose you'll just have to keep thinking of me as a fool.

Anyway, I put some water and coolant in today as it was very low.

It seems to have fixed the problem.

I should probably check it more often but it's not strictly my car anyway and shouldn't be solely my responsibility but that appears to be how it is.

I just love it how any OP here is basically on trial the moment they hit "submit."
The issue is not that you are negligent when looking after someone else's property, but that you are bragging about how little you care. Go you.

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Old 20th Dec 2010, 13:41   #28
EvilDreams
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There's really no need to get yourself so worked up.
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Old 20th Dec 2010, 13:52   #29
Janesy B
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The guy is totally right, what obligation do you have to look after someone else's vehicle when driving it? Hey it needed a top up of oil but it's not my problem lol.
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Old 20th Dec 2010, 14:05   #30
EvilDreams
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The (legal) owner (as we both pay for half of the car in question) doesn't look after his own car either.

Either way, we are talking about a 14 year old Honda that cost us 200 and when I say I don't care if it breaks, I am not bragging, I really mean I don't care as it was bought to be driven until it breaks. Which it apparently hasn't.

Will there be any further questions/cross examination/assumptions?
Last edited by EvilDreams; 20th Dec 2010 at 14:08.
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