Why doesn't my car start?
What to do if the car does not start on a cold morning
This is a common occurrence as lower temperatures can cause the car battery to produce less power and make the engine turn much harder in the morning. The cold can also prevent the engine oil from flowing as well as it should, which puts additional strain on the battery.
In this guide, we'll look at the main reasons cars have trouble starting in cold mornings, give six practical tips on how to get the engine running, and show you how to prevent these problems from occurring in the future.
4 reasons your car might not start on a cold morning
To avoid starting problems in cold weather, it can be helpful to know the reasons why cars often struggle when temperatures drop. Below we list the four main reasons for problems starting in winter:
- Car batteries generate less electricity when they are cold because the chemical reaction takes place more slowly than on a warm day. Cold batteries just don't produce the same amount of power as warm batteries. This can lead to startup problems.
- When it's cold, engine oil thickens and doesn't even flow through the engine. This means that it will be more difficult to pump through the engine block, which puts additional strain on the battery. If the battery is already weak, this can result in a failure to start.
- In the rare event that there is moisture in the fuel lines, it can freeze and cause a fuel blockage, which means the engine will not start. This is particularly common with fuel lines that are thin and can easily be blocked by ice. In the case of diesel vehicles, it should be noted that diesel "gels" when it is cold. This means it will take longer to get power to the motor when it starts.
- The fourth reason for starting problems does not apply to all motorists, but only to those who drive older cars with carburettors. Carburetors are particularly susceptible to cold conditions. This is mainly caused by the small nozzles that can clog and prevent moisture from evaporating, which can cause ice to accumulate. Most modern cars do not have a carburetor. If your car was built in the last 20 years, then there is nothing to worry about. However, if you drive a classic car, be aware that the carburetor can cause problems.
How to start the engine
- Turn everything off
All of your common electrical accessories such as headlights, heaters, and car stereos use battery power. So if you turn off all accessories before starting the car, you have a better chance of getting the engine going. If your engine starts, let it run for a while before turning any of these accessories back on, or you risk dying the battery again.
- Depress the clutch when you switch on the ignition
Another trick that can sometimes work is to step on the clutch a little when you turn the ignition. This reduces the workload on the battery and gives the engine a chance to start even in a cold car.
- Check that the battery cables are clean and tightened
Find your car battery under the hood and look closely at the cables. If you can see any signs of corrosion - a salty, crusty substance - you will need to clean the wires in order for the battery to function properly. Make sure you wear safety glasses and gloves, unplug the battery cables (minus first) and clean them with a toothbrush and a strong mixture of baking soda and water. When replacing the cables, always connect the negative cable to avoid electric shock.
If the cables are not corroded, you should still check how tight they are, as loose cables can cut off the flow of current. If the terminals are loose, tighten them securely before trying the ignition again.
- Top up your engine oil
Does your engine sound like it's really difficult to turn when you're trying to start? It could be that the car is running out of engine oil. If the oil level is too low, the battery will be drained much more when the engine is started. If the battery is cold or in poor condition, starting will never work.
- Try Start Pilot
Start Pilot works by making the fuel-air mixture more flammable so your engine can ignite faster. Simply spray into the engine's air intake for a few seconds, then turn on the ignition.
Start Pilot contains hydrocarbon compounds with a boiling point range between -40 ° C and + 200 ° C. It is a highly flammable mixture that also contains inhibitors that allow the engine to burn smoothly and progressively. To further improve the product, our unique formula also contains a lubricant that prevents wear on the cylinder head.
- Jump start
The batteries will die as the resistance between the terminals increases as the internal electrodes corrode. A fully charged car battery will measure approximately 12.6 volts between the terminals, while a fully discharged battery will measure 11.9 volts. This means that there is a voltage between the two batteries, which means that when jump-starting, charge flows from the full battery to the empty battery.
With both vehicles idling and with the engines off, connect one end of the red shift wire to the positive battery terminal on your vehicle and the other end to the positive terminal on the other vehicle's battery. Then connect one end of the black jump lead to the negative terminal of the other vehicle's battery and the other end to an unpainted metal surface on your own vehicle. Then start the other vehicle's engine and let it run for a few minutes before starting your own engine.
If that doesn't work, you'll need a mechanic.
Avoid non-starters in the future
If you want your car to start properly in all weathers, follow these steps to prevent it from failing to start in the future.
- Replace the battery.
- Keep Your Gas Tank Full: Starting a cold car in the morning uses 40% more fuel than usual, so a full tank will help if your car is having trouble starting.
- Check all of your fluids and keep them at the correct levels.
You can also find further tips and advice on vehicle maintenance in the Holt's blog. If you'd like to see our full range, visit our homepage today.
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