It is something almost all drivers will experience at one time or another—the struggle of starting a car in cold weather. Wintertime can already dampen your mood, but nothing makes it worse than when your car won’t start in the cold. Maybe you’re running late for work, maybe you need to get your kids to school, or maybe it’s just to run some quick errands. But, whatever the reason, you no longer have to feel left out in the cold with a frozen car. Wade Auto explores some of the reasons your car won’t start in the cold and some simple solutions you can use to get your car rolling even during the winter.
Why Your Car Won’t Start in the Cold
Knowing some of the main reasons why your car won’t start during cold winter mornings helps you know the first things you should check. Most of these factors have quick fixes that just take a few extra minutes to get your car started. Next time you’re stuck out in the cold, check the list below for possible causes as to why your car isn’t starting and learn the fast solutions for each:
- Is your car old enough to have a carburetor? Most likely, this will not be one of the reasons your car won’t start, but if your car has not been manufactured in the last 20 years, then it most likely has a carburetor. Carburetors are particularly susceptible to temperature change and is most likely the cause your car won’t start.
The Solution: Honestly, if your car is that old, you may want to consider finding a newer vehicle at least for winter driving, but if that isn’t possible you can use starter fluid. Starter fluid comes in an aerosol spray that you can spray into the air cleaner to encourage your vehicle to start.
- When a car battery gets cold it produces less electrical current than it normally does. This happens in car batteries because the chemical reactions are slower in colder weather than in warmer weather.
The Solution: Maybe your battery is old. Batteries that are nearing the end of their lifespan especially react to the cold. However, you can also check your battery cables and make sure there is no corrosion that might be blocking your car from making proper contact with the battery.
- The engine oil will thicken when it is colder outside, making the oil the very definition of sluggish. Thicker engine oil will travel slower than warm engine oil, making it harder for your oil to reach where it needs to go. On a similar note, if your vehicle runs on diesel fuel it tends to gel during the wintertime, making it sluggish as well.
The Solution: Keep your oil full and make sure you are using the correct type. Make sure to check your owner’s manual to ensure you are filling up your car with the right type of oil.
Quick Fixes to Starting Cold Cars
Remember that your car won’t start when cold, but starts when warm. It might seem simple, but keeping the car and its engine warm will make it so the car won’t have to work as hard to start when it’s cold outside. Try parking in a garage or somewhere where it will be covered, like a carport. Believe it or not, parking under something big that covers your car actually helps! Parking under something that covers your car also helps keep some of the snow off.
If problems with starting your car persist even after you have done your best to keep it warm and check those common factors listed above, it might be time to take it in to a professional. They can check the bigger problems that aren’t improved with a quick fix and provide the solution you need.
Photo Credit: BrianAJackson