Cold weather can make it a challenge to start your car. It can wreak havoc on your battery, engine oil and other vital components, so it’s important to know how to do it safely.
If your car hasn’t started since the winter weather arrived, it may be time to bring it in for some maintenance. Read on to learn about the main causes of non-starts and how to fix them.
Turn off all electrical accessories
Freezing weather can wreak havoc on your car’s battery and cause it to not start. Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to get your car moving again!
Firstly, turn off all electrical accessories. This includes headlights, heaters and radios.
These accessories use a lot of power and drain your battery while you’re driving. So turning them off before you try to start your vehicle will give it a much better chance of starting again.
You can also dip the clutch slightly as you start your engine to cut down on the work your battery has to do. This won’t make your engine start faster, but it will reduce the amount of stress your battery has to put on its starter motor and allow the battery to dedicate its full amperage to the task.
Dip the clutch
If you have a manual transmission vehicle, there are a few tricks you can do to help your car start in cold weather. One of them is to dip the clutch a bit when you turn on the ignition. This reduces the work that your battery has to do and will give your engine a fighting chance of starting even when it’s freezing outside.
The other is to switch off all electrical accessories like heaters, headlights and radios. These systems all use up power and could kill your battery if you haven’t turned them off before trying to start the car.
Other problems you may face when trying to start a car in cold weather include blocked fuel lines or clogged carburetors. If your car has these issues, it’s best to fix them before the winter season hits.
Check the battery
The battery is your car’s main source of power. Cold weather wreaks havoc on it because the chemical reactions that generate electricity are slower at low temperatures.
As a result, even a battery in good condition loses half its potential power at 0 F. That means it’s going to have to do much more work than on a warm day to start your engine.
It’s also worth checking the battery cables and clamps, as corrosion on them can impede current flow, stopping the battery from charging properly. If you see corrosion, clean it off with a wire brush or replace the cables.
Other liquids, such as oil and transmission fluid, can also be affected by cold weather. If these are too thick, they can make your engine less efficient and harder to start. Diesel fuel can also gel at very cold temperatures, which makes it difficult to start. That’s why diesel drivers should add a fuel additive before cold weather hits.
Check the oil
The oil in your car lubricates all the moving parts to keep them in good working order. It’s an essential component of your vehicle, and it’s important to check it regularly so you can keep the engine oiled and in excellent condition.
If you’re starting your car in cold weather, it is best to check the oil before you start it. This will ensure that you’re not getting too much or too little oil in your system and avoid any damage to the engine.
When it comes to checking your oil, you should always park the car on level ground and use a dipstick. This will give you an accurate reading.
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