There you are, up early in the morning, frost is on the ground, and you’ve got an important meeting first thing at the office. You insert your key in the ignition, turn it, the engine ‘whirs & chugs’ a few times, and nothing; your car won’t start. Bummer, “What’s the problem now?”
There are a number of reasons for your car not starting when it’s cold, in the winter months, especially when you live in harsher climates. Why do car problems seem more pronounced when there’s a chill in the air? Or more specifically, why doesn’t my car start in the cold? Let’s explore a few reasons for these mechanical troubles.
During cold, whether the oil becomes thicker so when a person tries to start a cold engine, it has first to try pushing away the cold. One solution to this problem is to use synthetic, or a lighter weight, motor oil because it will stay more fluid in the cold weather. Engine block warmers are common up north; keeping them plugged in overnight ensures easy start ups each morning. If available, keeping your car in a warm garage overnight helps too.
Weak or Dead Battery
In cold temperatures, the battery chemical reaction take place more slowly, making it produce fewer electrons, especially for older batteries. This leads to the starter motor having less energy to work with causing an insufficient rotation of the engine for starting. Keeping a trickle charger on the battery can pose an interim solution, but replacing the battery with a stronger newer one can help prevent other mechanical failures, including damage to the starter diodes and voltage regulator.
Lack of fuel or bad fuel mix
Having run out of gas, well, what else can be said? A bad mix of fuel can be another reason for your car not starting; this makes your fuel line to be clogged up. If your car does not have the right mixture of fuel to air, it will not ignite properly leading to your car not starting. Using ‘gum out’ in your carburetor and ‘dry gas’, or high-octane, gas additives can also provide a helpful solution.
Why doesn’t my car start in the cold? – Other Possibilities
The distributor is responsible for passing out voltage to the spark plugs and engine cylinders. It is possible for them to wear out or fail overtime naturally; older distributers, with rotars, can get gunked up as well. Therefore, regular maintenance and tune ups are the best preventatives for this concern.
Worn out Water Pump & Bearings
Water pumps and engine crankshaft each have bearings that can wear out, specifically with older vehicles. If this happens to your car, your only remedy is to have the bearings or water pump replaced immediately.
Lack of Compression
Your car needs a certain amount of compression to enable the fuel mixture to ignite. Worn out piston rings as well as intake and exhaust valves that are not sealing the proper way bring about lack of compression. The solution to this problem is to replace the worn out piston rings and ensure that the intake and exhaust valve are properly sealing.
Extreme cold weather wreaks havoc on any car making it difficult to start. However, by following the above tips, starting your car during the cold weather will be greatly minimized.
QUESTIONS??? - Contact us at North Hills Exxon if you’re in the Raleigh area and your vehicle needs help. We believe in not only providing you with good auto care but also in providing a great value. We want you to take care of your car and to avoid spending more than necessary. After all, taking care of your vehicle the right way is critical to keeping it safe and to keep repair costs down.
North Hills Exxon
4359 Six Forks Road
Raleigh NC 27609
919 787 2432
Monday through Saturday: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Like us on Facebook
Plus One us on Google