How does cold weather impact your car radiator?

With Britain experiencing a very cold January, you may have encountered more problems with your vehicle, including engine issues. But how does cold weather impact your car radiator? And how can you avoid these issues?

So, how does cold weather impact your car radiator?

Cold weather can have a number of significant impacts on your car radiator. These impacts include:

  • Freezing coolant
  • Efficiency issues
  • Frost
  • Radiator fan problems
  • Radiator cap problems 

Freezing coolant 

One of the first problems that can occur as a result of cold weather is that your coolant may freeze. Coolant is a mixture of antifreeze and water and is used to help manage and regulate the temperature of the engine. However, if temperatures reach below freezing, it’s possible that the coolant will freeze, expanding in the radiator. This can result in the radiator cracking, causing a leak and damage to your engine that can be costly to repair. To help avoid this issue, it is important to check your coolant and make sure that this meets the manufacturers guidelines in terms of the concentration of antifreeze to water. 

Efficiency issues 

As well as freezing coolant, cold weather can also cause problems with the efficiency of your vehicle’s radiator. The cold weather can cause the radiator to struggle to dissipate the heat from the engine, as the colder conditions make the air more dense, and as such, it can be more difficult for the radiator to transfer heat. As a result, you may notice that your engine is running at a higher temperature. This can cause the engine to overheat, as well as contributing to other engine problems that can be costly. 


If your vehicle has been idle for a few days in sub zero temperatures, frost and ice can accumulate on the outside of your vehicle’s radiator. This acts as an insulating barrier that prevents the radiator from successfully releasing heat generated by the engine. Again, this can cause overheating and reduce the performance of the engine.

Radiator fan problems 

The radiator fan can also be negatively impacted by cold weather. The fan is often used to assist the radiator, but cold weather can cause this to operate less effectively. This results in an insufficient air flow through the radiators, leading to increased temperatures and engine overheating. 

Radiator cap problems 

Finally, the cold weather can have a negative impact on the radiator cap. This plays an important role in maintaining pressure within the cooling system, and if this is compromised, pressure related issues can arise. These can include coolant links and an inefficient cooling system.

Here at MRS Heat Transfer we are radiator, car heater, intercooler, and air conditioning experts, and we have the skills, knowledge and expertise to resolve any air conditioning or car radiator problem. Why not get in touch today to find out more?