USjunkCars Blog

How to Start Your Car in the Cold?

Have you woken up on a cold morning, prepared for work, rushed breakfast, only to find that your car won’t start? You are not alone. Thousands of others who live in temperate regions face this perennial auto problem. 

Reasons vary – empty battery, viscous engine oil, moisture in fuel lines, or old car carburetors prone to ice build-up. But do not fret, you have a handful of ways to start your car during the cold season. 

Tips on Starting Your Car in the Cold

With the upcoming winter season, the freezing cold weather can affect the performance of your vehicle’s engine, batteries, and more. As the temperature drops, many drivers find themselves faced with car trouble. 

To avoid such a situation, here are some tips on how to start your car despite the cold temperature.

Turn Off Your Devices

Your battery is key to a smooth start on cold mornings. In general, your car’s battery drops 35% of its capacity at 32°F (0°C). At colder temperature, say 0°F (-18°C), your car’s battery loses 60% of its power. A weak battery will give you a hard time starting the car in autumn or winter.

On extremely cold mornings, you need to turn off your electronic car devices and accessories – radios, chargers, heaters, navigators, and even your headlights – while you are starting your car. Doing so will allow your limited battery reserve to focus on warming up and then powering up the engine. You can turn on these devices a few minutes after your engine has sprung to life.

Avoid Overheating

When in a rush, you are likely to put pressure on your car, turning on the ignition in quick succession. However, doing so will cause more harm. 

If the vehicle does not start on your first try, let it rest for at least one to three minutes before hitting the ignition again. The little gaps in-between will help ease the pressure. You do not want to overload your battery in the cold. 

After a few tries and your car still won’t start, you can remove the battery and place it indoors to warm. This task takes time, so to be safe, allow an extra hour on cold mornings to prepare your car. 

Once warmed up – say after 15 to 20 minutes of exposure to room temperature – you can put the battery back into the car and start the ignition again. Your last resort may be to jump-start your car battery.

Check the Battery Cables

Your most dreaded worry on an icy morning is a corroded battery cable. It’ll be wise to regularly check and clean your battery cables, especially during the cold season. 

Rust-covered wires will affect the performance of your battery. Make sure to remove the negative line first, when cleaning, and put them back on last. Loose battery cables will cause a problem, so always ensure that the battery cables are secured.

Depress the Clutch

What do you do when you find out your car won’t start on a cold morning? You may be wary of removing the battery, fearing that you will worsen the problem. For all you know, your motor only needs a little push to turn on. 

Here is a quick trick – press the clutch pedal while turning on the car’s ignition. The clutch is the mechanical device that transmits power from the car’s motor to the transmission. Depressing it will lessen the effort of the battery to jumpstart the cold engine.

Depress the Accelerator

Is your car not starting in cold still? Then you can try another trick – press the accelerator as you turn on the ignition. Some drivers depress both the clutch and the accelerator pedals at the same time. 

Although you do so slightly, the minimal effort still helps give your battery a push as it attempts to get the engine to life. The accelerator is responsible for injecting gas into the motor and controlling speed.

The clutch-and-accelerator technique works well for cars over 30 years old with an iced carburetor under its hood. A carburetor combines air with the fuel for internal combustion. It is commonly found in older car models and is more prone to icing as it draws in air.

Check the Engine Oil

Try turning the ignition and listen to the sound that your vehicle makes. If the motor gives off choking or struggling sounds, then you may be running low on engine oil, or your engine oil has increased in viscosity. 

In cold temperatures, oil usually becomes thicker and moves rather sluggishly. Thick oil is harder to pump, causing more strain to the battery. And you don’t want to hurt your already struggling battery any further.

Two steps to resolving engine oil problem in winter – refill it when your dipstick signals low oil levels and switch to winter-grade oil. Most cars running on cold-appropriate oil won’t have difficulty starting up in freezing mornings. 

As a guide, look for the ‘W’ (for winter) sign on the label. A lower number is more suitable for cold temperatures, so 5W is better than 10W.

Prevention is Key

Preventive maintenance will save you several mornings of tinkering with your car. Regular auto checks are even more necessary when you are driving an old car, which more likely uses a carburetor and manual transmission. 

How USJunkCar Can Help You Save Costs During Winter

Getting your car cold-ready is the best preventive measure that a driver can take. However, if your car is too old and might pose a risk to your safety, USJunkCar can step in and take care of this for you.

Our company is in the business of buying old cars. The condition of your car does not matter, we can purchase your vehicle on the spot.

To learn more about our offer, contact us for a free quote.