It’s that time of year again when the temperature starts to drop, and you have to start bundling up before heading outside. But there’s one thing that you might not be prepared for – your car won’t start in the cold! There are a few possible causes for this but don’t worry, we’ll go over everything you need to know, so you can avoid this problem in the future. Keep reading to learn more!
The car won’t start in the cold – possible causes and what to do
If your car doesn’t start on a cold morning, there are a few possible causes and preventative measures you can take:
- Oil has thickened
One possible cause is that the oil in your engine has thickened due to the cold weather, making it harder for the engine to turn over. This can damage your engine and is something you’ll want to avoid. To prevent this from happening, make sure to start your car at least once a week during the winter months, even if you’re just letting it run for a few minutes.
Use an oil with a lower ‘W’ number, e.g., 5W-30, during winter months to reduce wear and tear on your engine.
- Dead battery
Another possible cause is that your battery is old and isn’t holding a charge as well as it used to. This can happen for a number of reasons, including leaving your headlights on overnight or not driving your car regularly. This can be remedied. You can try jumpstarting it with another car or a portable jumpstarter. You should also make sure your cables are properly connected and that there is no corrosion on the terminals.
- Alternator or Starter Motor problems
If you jump start your car and the engine dies immediately, this points to a faulty alternator. Replace the alternator if the voltage output is low. You can replace the drive belt, tensioner and idler roller. The most obvious sign of a broken starter motor is a clicking sound when you turn the ignition key, followed by the engine refusing to turn over and start.
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- Frozen Fuel System
Another possibility is that your fuel lines may be frozen. This can happen if you live in an area with very cold temperatures. To thaw out frozen fuel lines, you can try using a hair dryer or pouring some hot water over them. If this doesn’t work, you’ll need to call a tow truck to take your car to a mechanic. The freezing point of petrol is -60 °C.
- Defective Engine Sensors
A defective coolant temperature or malfunctioning air intake temperature sensor can cause a lean air/fuel mixture, making the engine difficult to start in cold weather.
How to prevent your car from not starting in the cold
If your car doesn’t start in the cold, there are a few possible causes and preventative measures you can take. One possible cause is that your engine is not getting enough heat. This can be remedied by making sure you keep your engine properly tuned up and keeping the oil level full.
Also, make sure to keep the battery charged during periods of extended non-use (i.e., if you know you won’t be driving your car for a week or more, charge the battery before leaving it unused). This can be prevented by regularly checking your battery’s voltage and replacing it if necessary.
Finally, if your car has an older carburettor – based fuel system, cold weather can cause the fuel to vaporize before reaching the engine, preventing it from starting. This can be remedied by using a fuel additive that prevents vaporization.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to have your car professionally serviced before winter starts. This will ensure that all the moving parts are well-lubricated and ready to withstand the colder temperatures.