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Car Won’t Start in Cold: What Causes it and How Can You Prevent it From Happening?

Car Won’t Start in Cold: What Causes it and How Can You Prevent it From Happening?

Car won’t start in cold is not really an isolated case or an unusual occurrence. It really does happen and there is a reason why. Although it can be alarming if your car won’t start in cold, there are things you can do to fix it and prevent it from happening.  

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Car Won’t Start in Cold: Why do cars struggle to start in the cold?


Extreme weather can be hard on people, more so on cars – specifically cold weather. But why do cars really struggle to start in the cold?

  • The fluids in your car thicken.


If your car won’t start in cold, it is because low temperature causes the fluids in your car to thicken, if not freeze. 


Cars have lots of different essential fluids that help cars last longer, save fuel, and drive smoother. A car has transmission fluid, engine oil, brake fluid, antifreeze, and other fluids that thicken when the temperature goes extremely cold. When this happens, the thickened fluid will have a hard time flowing freely through the engine. It causes strain and unnecessary friction within the engine.  


Problems will also start to show if your car has worn-out fuel or brake lines. This can cause moisture to seep in that can freeze your fluids that could result in a blockage. This stops the engine from starting and could be the reason why your car won’t start in cold. 

  • Your car battery produces less current.


A car won’t start in cold could be caused by your battery producing less current when the temperature is so low. This is because extremely low temperature affects the chemical process in the battery. The process that produces and stores electricity has been affected which causes the battery to slow down and reduce its ability to hold a charge.


Car Won’t Start in Cold: How do I keep my car battery from dying in cold weather?


One of the reasons why a car won’t start in cold temperatures is because of its battery. One thing a car battery hates is cold. It seems like the colder the temperature is the weaker it becomes.


So how can you keep your car battery from dying that makes your car won’t start in cold? Here are some of the things you can do! 


  • Have your battery check. 


When you know that the weather could go extremely cold any moment, have your battery checked at a repair shop and ask for a battery test. This is done so you’ll know what you can prepare or know if your battery is still capable of driving through cold weather. 


  • Go for a drive for at least 10 minutes every day.


Driving every day for 10 minutes or longer can help your engine and your battery. Driving warms your engine and can help keep the battery healthy. Just like a person that needs exercise to stay fit, cars need that too and they can stay fit when you drive. 


If you notice that it takes too long to start your car, have it checked immediately. It is an early sign that your battery is failing and you can’t drive with a dead battery. 

  • Park your car in a garage.


If possible, park your car in your garage. You might think that the battery won’t get affected by the chilly winds or such, but it does! Batteries can freeze too when exposed to harsh weather. It is a reason enough why your car won’t start in cold temperatures. 


Now, a fully charged battery can withstand cold temperatures but it can wear down if not used. The weaker the battery, the warmer it has to be so you won’t have a problem starting your car in the cold. If it is not fully charged and is left exposed to the freezing weather, it could turn into a solid block of ice. 


To ensure that your car and battery will survive the cold, park it in your garage or someplace warmer. 


Car Won’t Start in Cold: What do you do if your car won't start in the cold?


Imagine being ready for the day and you hop in your car only to realize that your car won’t start in cold temperature or weather, what will you do? Fortunately, there are some ways you can do that can help you start your car. 


  • Turn other electrical accessories off.


Turning all your electrical accessories off can help you start your car. Electrical accessories like the radio, headlights, and heaters use up power from your battery. Turning them off before you try to start your car can help your battery give more power to your engine as it starts up. Be sure to let your engine run for a while before turning back on your car’s electrical accessories


  • Depress the clutch while turning the ignition on. 


Depressing the clutch while you turn on the ignition is a trick you can do if your car won’t start in cold. Pushing down the clutch pedal slightly as you turn the ignition can help you start your engine since it decreases the amount of work the battery has to do to start it. 


  • Check your battery.


If your car won’t start in cold, check the battery under the hood and check if all its cables are clean and tightened. Check for corrosions and contaminations that might’ve damaged it. If you see corrosion and salt build-ups, you can clean them by using a baking soda and water mixture. Make sure that you are protected by using gloves and goggles. 


Remember to disconnect the negative battery cable first to avoid electric shocks, and the negative cable will be the last one to connect when you are done. If all cables and terminals show no signs of corrosion and build-ups, look for loose cables and tighten them up. 

  • Check your engine oil.


One reason why your car won’t start in cold is because of your engine oil. If your car is low on engine oil, it will struggle to start especially during cold weather. Check the level of your engine oil by using a dipstick. If it’s way below the recommended level, top it up first before trying to start the engine again. 

  • Jump-start your car. 


If all fails and your car won’t start in cold no matter how you try, jump start your car. It is the last resort. If you haven’t done jump-starting before, you better call someone that can help you since it can damage your car or can potentially hurt you. 

  • Call for help.


There’s no shame in asking for help or call for a rescue when you need it. You can call for roadside assistance to help you out and your car by towing it. Your safety should always be the top priority and nothing else. 


Car Won’t Start in Cold: How can you prevent it from happening?


You now know why your car won’t start in cold and its causes. To make sure that you won’t encounter the same problem in the future, here are some of the things you can do that can help prevent it from happening again. 


If cold weather and extremely cold temperatures are expected to last for a while, you can prepare your vehicle by winterizing it. It is a good practice to prepare your vehicle in case something happens, especially now where the weather can be so unpredictable! Winterizing it includes having a set of winter tires, using antifreeze, or using the right oil. 


  • Replace your car’s battery.


If your car battery failed you the last time, then it is safe to say that you definitely need a new one. You don’t want to suffer from the cold when your battery decides to die in the middle of nowhere. Buying a new one might cost you some bucks, but it is better to drive knowing that your car won’t cause you any trouble. 


  • Fill up your fuel tank.


Starting your cold car consumes forty percent more fuel than usual and if your tank doesn't have much fuel in it, imagine the trouble it can give you! It is recommended that you fill up your fuel tank before you retire your car for the night. Keeping at least half a tank of fuel in your car also makes it possible for you to drive your car around to warm it up in case you get stranded. 


Car Won’t Start in Cold: Final Word


The climate today is very unpredictable. It can be very hot today and the next day it’ll be super cold. Like us, cars also get affected by it. That is why you and your car need to be prepared all the time to handle such unpredictable situations. If your car won’t start in cold weather, you don’t have to worry. There is always an explanation and a solution for that. Don’t let the unpleasant weather stop you and your car!