How To Stay Warm In A Car With No Heat – The Smart Hacks

Winter temperatures are not friendly to us, especially those living in cold areas like Fairbanks, Alaska. But there’s nothing more unfriendly than driving during winter without a working car heater. The best solution will be to track and fix the car heater. But what if you don’t have the money or time to visit a mechanic and get things fixed?

Thankfully, there are a few ways you can stay warm in your car, even with a bad heater. This article will discuss how to stay warm in a car with no heat.

how to stay warm in a car overnight

How to stay warm in a car with no heat

There are several ‘no heat in car hacks’ to stay warm. Some of these hacks are quick and affordable, while others are more expensive but offer more than they promise. Let’s look at these quick fixes for no heat in cars in no order of importance. You can employ temporary fixes until you visit a mechanic to repair your car heater.

Park in a garage

Regardless of how cold the outside temperature is, the garage temperature will be a bit warmer than open places. Always park your car in a garage or under a shade during winters and overnights. This will prevent the cabin from getting extremely cold compared to parking the car in an open space.

Cover the windscreen

Cover the windshield if it’s impossible to park in a garage or shaded area. This will prevent you from defrosting the windshield in extremely cold temperatures before you take a ride.

You can get an affordable windshield cover from Walmart at $15 to cover the windshield. All you have to do is to remove the windshield cover and shake off the accumulated ice before hitting the road.

You can also get a windshield cover even if you have a working car heater. At least, it’ll eliminate the need for defrosting car windows every cold morning. This explains how to stay warm in a broken-down car. Let’s keep exploring other options.

Place hand-warming packets in the cabin

Get some hand and feet warming packets from local or online auto stores and stock them in the cabin. Grab a few warming packets and slips them into your pants pockets and gloves to create heat for your body as you have that early morning drive.

The hand and feet warming packets can stay for months in your car without providing any heat until you activate the individual packets. You can buy as many as you want and stick them in your car.

Take some hot coffee along.

Undoubtedly, taking hot coffee will keep your inner being warm. Take a hot coffee or drink anything to warm up from the inside out.

Keep blankets in the rear seats.

Don’t be selfish when keeping your interiors warm. Always consider your passengers in the back seats. Keep thick blankets at the rear seats for the passengers to feel the warmth.

You can also get a heater car blanket for more comfort. A heater car blanket can be between $20 and $40. All you need to do is to spray the blanket on the car seats and plug the blanket into the cigarette lighter socket.

Insulate your cars

If you want to know how to stay indoors without heat, insulate your car windows. You can get reflective insulating foam from any online or local auto store and cut it to the shapes and sizes of your windows. After that, get some adhesive and black spray to create insulating windshields and window covers.

This is one of the affordable ‘no heat in car hacks’ you can deploy when you don’t have the cash to fix your car heater problems.

Invest in heater seat covers or car heaters

This option is one of the most effective among the others. If your car heater is not working or blowing cold air, or you are wondering how to heat your car without a heater core, a heater or heated seat covers is all you need until you put things in order.

You can get a 12 volts car heater or heated seat cover and plug it into your internal power source to generate the warmth you desire. You can get cheap heaters or heated seat covers for as low as $20 at Amazon. However, some premium ones with premium prices go over $100.

Heater steering wheel cover

The last hack you may need on our list is a heated steering wheel cover. You don’t want your hands to numb when holding the steering wheel. For this purpose, a heated steering wheel cover is a great hack. It has a connector that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket solemnly to keep your hands warm.

car heater without engine

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Q: How can I heat my car with no heat?

This article focuses on how to stay warm inside a car without a car heater. A quick recap on how to stay warm inside your car is to deploy the following options. Get a heated steering wheel cover or heated blanket, take some hot coffee along, invest in seat covers, insulate your car windows, carry some hand and feet warmers, and park smartly.

Q: Can I drive in the winter without heat?

A dead car heater or heater that is blowing cold air will not prevent you from driving in extremely cold weather. However, you need to understand that driving without heat in extremely cold weather is quite unfriendly.

Aside from how you feel, always warm the engine before hitting the road. This is because the extremely cold temperature can freeze some fluids in the car. Warming up the engine will unfreeze them and allow the fluids to flow properly.

Q: Is it safe to drive a car with no heat?

Depending on your city, driving without heat can be unnerving and a safety hazard. If you live anywhere in the States where there’s much cold, you don’t need to drive without heat. However, driving without heat is safe if you live in places like Las Vegas and other parts of the States with hot climates.

Q: How can I survive in my car in the winter?

Of course, manufacturers equip cars with the necessary features to help you stay cool in both winter and summer seasons. You can stay safe in winter using car heaters if you live in an extremely cold climate. You can also stay warm even when the heaters are bad by employing the hacks explored above. On the other hand, those living in hotter parts of the world may not even need heaters in winter. 

Q: How cold is too cold for a car?

Temperatures lower than 32 degrees Fahrenheit are too cold for car engine performance. However, it’ll not prevent your car from starting. Instead, if you notice the temperature is dropping, start the engine and let it idle for some minutes before hitting the road. This exercise will prevent the vehicle fluids from freezing.

Q: Is sleeping in a car warmer than in a tent?

Sleeping in a car is warmer than sleeping in a tent. Cars have built-in insulators that trap heat in the noonday. At night or when the sun goes down, the heater inside the cabin will slowly go down compared to a tent. Also, the insulators trap the heat from your body as you sleep, keeping you warmer than a tent.

Because of the insulation, the temperature inside the car cabin stays a bit higher than the ambient temperature. On the other hand, most tents do not have insulations, keeping the inside and ambient temperatures almost the same. However, premium tents may have insulations that keep the inside temp higher than the out air temperature.

Q: How do you warm up your car in an emergency?

To warm up your car in an emergency, turn on the ignition and wait for 5 seconds before starting it. Once you turn on the engine, let it idle for at least 10 seconds before hitting the road. This applies to all weather conditions. Whether cold or hot weather.

Final Words

By now, you have learned about all the hacks on how to stay warm in a car with no heat. You can also use a candle in a car to keep warm. This may sound odd; that’s why we did not include it on the above list. However, it does not only keep you warm; it also provides light inside the car. Meanwhile, I recommend candles only when the car is stationary, like when sleeping in the car.

While all the options are effective, some are more effective than others, and some are more affordable than others. You should always choose the best option based on your budget and the warmth you need inside the car.


Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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