Why Won't My Car Start in the Cold?

2021 Buick Enclave on Snowy Road

It’s a cold winter morning, and you get in your car to head to work. Your fingers are frozen from scraping ice off your windshield, and you can’t wait to start your car and crank the heat. The only problem is that your car won’t start in the cold! If this sounds familiar, the team at Dan Cava's Buick GMC is here to help. Below, we have highlighted potential reasons why your car won’t start in the cold and what you can do about it. Read on to learn how to start a car in the cold, and feel free to contact us with any questions.



Reasons Why Your Car Won’t Start in the Cold

Why won’t my car start in the cold? It could simply be the effect that cold Fairmont temperatures have on your vehicle. However, it could also be an indicator of a bigger problem that requires your car to be serviced. Here are some potential reasons why your car won’t start in the cold:

Low Battery Output

One potential reason your car won’t start in the cold is a low battery output. In other words, your car battery is producing less electrical current due to frigid temperatures.

Thickened Engine Oil

The cold weather has caused your engine oil to thicken, making it harder for the oil to flow through the engine. This forces your car battery to work harder.

Moisture in the Fuel Lines

Fuel lines transfer fuel from one part of your vehicle to another. If your car won’t start in the cold, there may be a blockage occurring from built up moisture in the fuel lines that has frozen. Diesel fuel can gel in the cold, so keep that in mind if you drive a vehicle with a diesel engine.

Clogged Carburetor

Carburetors, which supply internal combustion engines with an air/fuel mixture, have small nozzles that can also become clogged. Moisture is then unable to evaporate as a result, which may be why your car won’t start in the cold. However, this only applies to older vehicles as carburetors stopped being used by auto manufacturers in the 90s.

How to Start a Car in the Cold

Next, let’s go over how to start a car in the cold. The following are some helpful tips:

  • Turn off all of your vehicle’s electric systems. Since these systems use up battery power, wait a few minutes before starting it up again.
  • Remember to always push the clutch pedal down when attempting to start your car. Forgetting to do so will cause the battery to work harder while wasting the chance of a potential engine start.
  • Inspect the car battery and its cables for signs of corrosion. If you need help determining where to find them, consult your owner’s manual.
  • Check your oil levels to ensure the engine has enough lubrication, and top it off as necessary.

What is a Cold Start?

You might need to perform a cold start if you took the steps above and are still asking, “Why won’t my car start in the cold?” What is a cold start? It’s the same thing as a jump-start, just in colder temperatures. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Make sure that you have a friend or family member with a working car and jumper cables.
  2. Put both vehicles in park and turn them off.
  3. Secure one of the red jumper cables to the functioning battery’s positive terminal.
  4. Attach the other red jumper cable to the battery of the car that won’t start.
  5. Attach the black jumper cable to the functioning battery’s negative terminal.
  6. Attach the other black cable to an unpainted metal surface on your vehicle.

Once you have completed the steps above, start up the car with the functioning battery. After a few minutes, start your car. After the car has started, remove the cables in the opposite order of which you put them on. Before turning off your car, run the engine at idle for approximately 30 minutes to give the battery time to charge up. Driving your car will help to charge the battery faster.

Contact Dan Cava's Buick GMC with Any Questions

Whether you want more information about how to start a car in the cold or need to bring your vehicle in for service, Dan Cava's Buick GMC has you covered. Contact us today with any questions, or schedule your appointment online today. We’re conveniently located near Morgantown and Grafton. You can also check out our service and parts tips to learn more about caring for your car.


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