Cold weather wreaks havoc on cars. This is especially true if you park your car outdoors where it is exposed to icy winds and sub-zero temperatures. If your car isn't starting in the cold, below are three reasons why this may be happening.
1. Icy Battery
If your car won't start right away, the first thing to do is check the battery. If the car makes a clicking sound or you hear a slow crank, the battery is to blame. Car batteries experience a significant power loss in cold temperatures. Battery strength goes down 35% at 32°F and 60% at 0°F. Before trying to start the car, turn off all energy usurpers in the car. This includes the heater, lights, and radio. Don't forget to unplug electronic devices like your mobile phone, tablet, or GPS system from the cigarette lighter. If the car doesn't start after a few tries, you will need to jump-start the car and/or buy a new battery.
2. Frozen Fuel Tank
The next thing to check is the fuel tank. If your car has been sitting in cold weather with a nearly empty gas tank, the gas lines might have frozen. To get the car to work, you have to thaw the gas lines. Here are a few things you should try before calling a professional: If possible, move the car to a warmer location. A heated garage would be ideal. You can also aim space heaters toward the engine to speed up the thawing process. Alternatively, buy a few bottles of gas line antifreeze treatment and add them to the gas tank. Wait for a few hours for the product to work before you attempt to start the car.
3. Cold Cooling System
A third common problem is excessive water in the car's cooling system. In winter months, it is best to mix 50 percent antifreeze to 50 percent water to prevent freezing in sub-zero temperature. Many people mistakenly use too much water, which can freeze the cooling system, preventing the car from starting. If this happens, you can flush the system and add the correct mixture of antifreeze and water and the car should start and function normally.
Endeavor to purchase a new battery every 3-5 years, especially if you live in an area with harsh winters. Try to keep the gas tank at least halfway full throughout the winter. Park your car in a garage, or at least against the side of a building where it will be protected against damaging winds. Check your oil and coolant levels regularly. While it might be tempting to delay or ignore routine car maintenance, following the requisite measures now will provide some peace of mind later.
For more information, contact a repair shop like Ericson Automotive.