what will happen to my car with no antifreeze?

its supposed to freeze tonight and snow tomorrow. it will be in the low twenties tomorrow night. i only have water in my car...no antifreeze.

what will happen?


sorry to sound so dumb...but i really never think about this stuff...i guess im screwed. i cant go to the store, i have 3 sleeping kids! their sorry father should have told me. i specifically asked him earlier if i needed it. he didnt even answer me.

oh well, i guess its my own fault for being stupid, but i didnt even have the money to get any which is why i was asking him.

Update 2:

lol...i swear i did not know.

only now am i realizing how incredibly dumb i am.

well... i have been driving for 10 yrs and only put antifreeze in one of my cars...that was last yr,and thats b/c i had the radiador flushed or something...i honestly dont remember.

Update 3:

im up all night with my baby anyway...i'll go start it up every few hours...thanks

17 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best answer

    You don't want the engine to get below freezing. You should always keep a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and purified water in the system to prevent rust but your immediate problem is overnight. Warm up the engine thoroughly before you go to bed and if you have a garage to keep it in that should take care of it. If not you will want to keep as much of the heat in as possible by putting a blanket over the hood and grill. If that is not practical you should start the car every four hours or so to prevent it from freezing. No fun, but much better than a cracked block.

    If you can get antifreeze anywhere tonight, get a gallon, drain the radiator (there is probably a little wing valve (called a petcock) somewhere along the bottom of the radiator that you can loosen to drain the radiator. Drain it, close the petcock, add the coolant and top up with water - purified water if possible. Run the engine until warm and you will be able to sleep through the night.

    Source(s): 35 years maintaining my own cars
  • 4 years ago

    It is anti-freeze/coolant. Anti-freeze is in the radiator, you radiator probably has a leak or your thermostat might be broken. Most likely it's the thermostat. They are like 10 bucks at the most to replace. The thermostat is on the top middle of the radiator, which is in the very front of the car. If your radiator is leaking, you could try to use some radiator sealers that they sell. My old truck leaked about half a gallon of coolant a day, I just started putting water in because it got so bad. I tried a sealer that costed 20 bucks and it fixed it so nothing leaked out (sorry I can't remember the name of it but I'm pretty sure I got it at a Wal-Mart). If those don't work then you'd have to get a new radiator. Those can be from $200 for used ones on older cars, but tend to cost more on newer cars. I'd go to an auto part store near you and get a thermostat for your car (need a specific one for your make and model). If you don't want to put the thermostat on the car then ask someone in the store to help you put it on, they usually will at a NAPA store, or have your boyfriend or dad do it, they should know how to put a new thermostat on since it is really easy. If it still leaks try one or two good sealers. And if it still leaks after that, then you need to take it to a mechanic. It might just be a loose hose, but you will probably need a new radiator if it you end up bringing it to a mechanic. Hoses may also have been loosened when they fixed the core heater since coolant runs through there too. If it is leaking under your seats in the middle, it means the hoses are probably lose, if it is leaking towards the front more, it means that it's the radiator. Good luck with all of that, hope I helped.

  • ?
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    No Antifreeze In Car

  • Jen
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    The least possible scenario is a freeze plug will be forced out. The worst case would be block would crack. The snow will not affect anything but continued twenty degree weather will do to your vehicle what it would do to water in an ice tray in the freezer.

    --A gallon or so of engine coolant is far more expensive that a new engine right?

    --Also, aside from freezing, there are serious reasons why a person should never run straight water in a coolant system. The problem will be exacerbated

    if the engine or head(or both) is aluminum.

    -----Here is a good explanation:

    The purpose of antifreeze is to prevent a rigid enclosure from undergoing physical stresses and catastrophic deformation due to the expansion that occurs when water turns to ice. --Wikipedia

    Tap water has iron and minerals that are corrosive. This will be detrimental to any engine but far worse on aluminum.

    --Engine coolants has corrosion inhibitors that coat the coolant system and even the water pump so give added protection.

    --Propylene glycol is the best coolant as it is animal friendly.

    Source(s): Ex-technician/Wikipedia
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  • 1 decade ago

    the water in the motor can freeze and bust the block. It will then need a new motor. Depending on what kind and year your car is you might do better to just junk it from here. Not to be mean but Walmart is open all night you might want to go get antifreeze.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well being that the water is in an enclosed chamber and when water freezes it expands and can cause deformation not to mention cracking to other pertinent components of your engine.But anti-freeze is not only used for this purpose alone it is also a coolant which lowers the fluid Temperature so that the engine isn't susceptible to metal fatigue and warping.And has anti-corrosion inhibitors that prevent things like rust.Get some coolant even if you have to borrow it,that is if you want to be driving your vehicle tomorrow.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It will turn turn to ice in the radiator and engine block.


    Get some pure antifreeze and dump it in, it will help get closer to the recommended 50/50 ratio.

    Plus I had a car that burnt anti-freeze, and I put in water until one winter day. It froze solid and I could not even jump the car. it left me stranded in 80 below windchills and 15 degrees. the car was totaled (rearended before I could pick up the next day).

    1 hour ago

  • 4 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    what will happen to my car with no antifreeze?

    its supposed to freeze tonight and snow tomorrow. it will be in the low twenties tomorrow night. i only have water in my car...no antifreeze.

    what will happen?

    Source(s): happen car antifreeze: https://tr.im/sjFLh
  • 1 decade ago

    It might freeze and crack the engine block. You should always use antifreeze because anti-corrosives and other additives are needed to keep your radiator, water pump and other cooling system parts from rusting out or otherwise prematurely failing.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Well, the water in your radiator and engine block could freeze and expand and crack your radiator. Also any water in your engine could freeze and expand and blow out your freeze plugs or even crack your engine block.

    Really I would put antifreeze in your car as soon as possible to prevent major damage to your car, I mean you could be looking at $4000.00 plus to replace a cracked engine block.

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