Why Is Your Car Overheating in the Winter?

You might think that it’s impossible for your car to overheat in the winter when it’s cold out, but Pit Shop Auto Repair wants you to know that it’s actually common for people to experience overheating in colder months if there is something wrong with their automobiles. Let’s talk about the common reasons why cars overheat in the winter. Knowing the cause helps you and us fix the problem so you can drive easy all year long.

Coolant Levels

It’s easy to forget about coolant levels in the winter, but they’re really important. If you have low levels of coolant in the cooling system, your car will overheat. Even in the winter, your car’s engine gets hot and relies on both coolant and motor oil to keep temperatures under control. If there’s not enough coolant in the system, your vehicle will run too hot no matter what time of year it is.

Coolant Leaks

Your car may be overheating because you have a leak somewhere in the cooling system. Check under your automobile for coolant leaks. The leak could be coming from the radiator, cooling system hoses, or the water pump, so check everywhere under the car. If you’re not sure whether you’re seeing leaks, put a clean piece of cardboard under the car for a day or two and then check it for spots.

Radiator Vents

Dead leaves and other debris can easily get lodged near your car’s radiator vents. These vents blow air over the hot coolant in the radiator to cool it. When debris clogs the vents, the radiator doesn’t get the airflow that it needs and hot coolant recirculates through the engine. Recirculating hot coolant doesn’t do the engine any good and could be part of what’s causing you to have trouble with overheating.


If your automobile has many miles and years under its hood, your thermostat may be failing. Most thermostats last for about 10 years. The thermostat opens and closes to release coolant each time the engine gets too hot. This constant operation and age will eventually wear the thermostat down, and no functioning thermostat means no coolant circulating through the engine. Instant overheating.

Pit Shop Auto Repair in Libertyville, IL, can inspect your vehicle’s cooling system to determine why it is overheating in the winter. Once we find out what’s wrong, we’ll give you a detailed estimate of the repairs required to fix the problem and start the work once you give us the okay.