If you've ever had to drive a car with no heat or wondered at how to sleep in a car during winter, then you'll know that getting stuck in a really cold vehicle with no heat during a cold snap can cause severe anguish. It can also lead to other physical issues affecting your health.
Ranging from basic body chills and goosebumps to other extremes like low body temperature. This can then lead to your heart and internal body organs to enter a state of shock. In these extreme circumstances, there's the possibility of a person having a cardiac arrest, a failure of the respiratory system and maybe even death.
If you plan on sleeping in your car, then there are a number of things you can do to ensure you stay warm while inside your vehicle. This is all the more important if the weather forecasts point to a significant drop in temperatures.
- Plan ahead and book your car in for a service if one is required. There's usually a mad rush with car owners booking their vehicles in, so planning ahead is the sensible thing to do.
- Check your car battery or carry a portable battery jump starter kit (like this Boost Plus Kit) with you. It's a swiss army-like car jump starter, that also works as a portable power bank, and LED flashlight. Allowing you to recharge smartphones, tablets, and other USB devices.
- Check your engine coolant and top up with antifreeze if below the recommended limit.
- Fit some winter tyres or check the condition of your existing ones. Winter tyres are recommended to have a tread depth of at least 4mm. This thicker tyre frame allows it to deal with wet, icy, and snowy conditions at a canter.
- Check your internal and external lights all work.
- While doing your checks, also check your windscreen wash and wipers. Whatever you do, do not put antifreeze in windshield washer. It's an easy mistake to make but you may end up damaging your car paint and causing more damage.
- Carry a winter car breakdown kit. This UK winter kit or this EU winter kit contains everything you need – from tow ropes, triangle, flashlights to a safety hammer.
The key thing if you expect to be outdoors in your car on a cold day, is to make sure your car heating works. This is where the earlier checks are necessary. A car fault like a defective thermostat, low coolant fluid level, malfunctioning heater core, a leaking cooling system or if your radiator is just very low on coolant – will mean that your car will have no heat.
Below Are Some Other Ways To Retain Heat in Your Car
- Drink hot drinks before setting out: Drinking hot drinks during winter does not only help to fight dehydration, it helps to warm up the body against the cold temperatures around you. The key thing is to plan ahead and drink a cup of hot beverage (avoid caffeinated drinks) before setting out and don't forget to take some for the road. The best way to keep the beverage warm for the entirety of the journey is to keep the drink in a travel mug. A cheap, leak-proof thermal mug is all you need for long car rides. Following the theme of warming the body from inside-out, eating spicy foods can also help to generate body heat that would help prepare you for the road.
- Park your car in a garage: Although most garages have alternative uses in most homes, where possible a car garage should go back to serving its original purpose during winter. Keeping your car in the garage protects it from frost and from being thickened with snow and ice, which in turn, can reduce your car's warmth. Not only does it help protect your vehicle from the brutal weather, but it also saves you the time needed to scrape snow off your car before driving it.
- Windshield cover: Using a highly rated windshield cover is the wise alternative for car owners who do not own a garage or have an available covered space to park their cars. It does not only keep the car's interior warm by insulating the glass, you do not have to worry about spending extra time scraping ice off your car. It serves as protection against snow, frost and ice. Luckily, windscreen covers like this also come with magnetic edges that make it easy to put on and take off without causing a scratch on the car.
- Get some extra wool blankets: Wool is a good insulating material because it keeps heat in and helps to block the cold wind from getting in the body. Although wool blankets are quite expensive, they are worth every penny spent on acquiring them. Another mind-blowing thing about wool is that it still keeps you warm when wet and is self-cleaning. Be sure to stash woollen blankets in your car on your journey
What Should You Have With You On a Cold Road Trip
Some of the options listed above are just some of the many ways to keep warm in your car during the winter. They are useful and handy to have when in an emergency.
Luckily, there are tools you can acquire at local stores or online before the winter rolls in and you get caught out from inadequate planning.
- Get a heated steering wheel cover: Driving with cold and rigid hands isn't exactly the best thing to put one in a great mood. If cold air is all you get from your car's vent, it would definitely worsen the cold hand's situation. Fortunately, this situation can be avoided completely by using a heated steering wheel cover. Heated steering wheel covers are a great way to keep your hands warm and nice when driving in the frigid weather.
- Install a block heater: In cold weather, most car engines have a problem starting on their own without further assistance. If you install a block heater on your engine, it heats up your antifreeze and prevents damage from cold starts and idling. The block heater helps thin out the engine oil and makes the engine components work better by heating it up and in return helps to keep the passenger warm by warming up the passenger compartment. These heaters are not a one-fits-all so be sure to choose the one that fits in with your vehicle. Don’t forget to unplug it before you drive away.
- Electrical seat heaters: Most modern cars come with factory-installed seat heating systems. However, owners of older cars can buy and retro-fit seat warmers. They keep a large portion of the body warm when plugged in the right outlet. The good thing is that they are usually a universal fit, that means it can fit in with any type of car so you do not have to worry about getting the wrong size. Fitting it to your car is also easy, as all you have to do is fit into your car's seat.
- Buy a small car heater: This is a great way to provide internal heat if there's a chance that the heater in your car is faulty. Small car heaters work by directing heat all around your car interior. It also works great to defrost windows. Decent car heaters are often relatively cheap, the price is worth the comfort they would provide later on.
Note that, the above solutions are all temporary options that are worth having close to hand, if you might have to sleep in a car during winter.
Fixing your vehicle's heater is the ultimate solution to getting your car's heat back in circulation.