Now that it has warmed up, things are back to normal. Even my heat is back. I think that my thermostat was stuck, but can they get "unstuck"?

  • It's not clear what you're asking. One way of reading this is "when it was cold outside, my heater had trouble keeping up." Is there are more complex problem here? Please provide more information so that we can provide substantive help.
    – Bob Cross
    Jan 16, 2014 at 12:51
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    My experience is that at -15F and below, all bets are off. I've had coils fail to fire, random shutoffs, tire that mysteriously go flat, fuel pumps that make screaming sounds, etc. Above that they work fine again and appear to be in perfectly serviceable condition. Cars just don't do well when allowed to get so cold. :-) Jan 17, 2014 at 13:09
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    Thanks @BrianKnoblauch, I'm leaning towards writing it off as bitter cold. Things are working perfectly now in the balmy 30F weather. Jan 17, 2014 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


It depends, it could have become stuck (frozen) but should have free'd up after your engine was running for a while. In extremely cold temperatures the airflow through the engine bay is enough to cool the engine so it never warms properly. In some places its normal to cover the radiator to block some of the airflow and help keep the engine warmer.

keeping engine warm in the cold

I know some newer ultra efficient small capacity diesel cars (Ford Focus) have automatic grills which block the airflow until the engine is up to temperature to aid in efficiency but I would imagine they also help in extreme cold.

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    Thanks. I eventually just think the air/wind was too damn cold for my car to warm up. After the temperature rose to 0F, it was perfectly fine. Thanks though! Jan 17, 2014 at 15:58
  • I've wired cardboard flaps to my radiator when the temps get down below zero. Cheap, easy, and works like a charm!
    – TMN
    Jan 17, 2014 at 20:01

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