Winter is officially here now and motorists in some regions may be finding it difficult to start their cars in the cold weather. Gas engines are harder to start in lower temperatures, that just is so. Read on to find out why and what you can do about it.
Why it is hard to start a car in cold weather
1. Liquids evaporate in heat. Like any other liquid, gasoline evaporates much, much more slowly in the cold. That matters because its not actually gasoline itself that burns, but rather the vapors it emits. The vehicles made today use fuel injectors to minimize the problem, by spraying fuel into a fine vapor into the cylinder.
2. Oil becomes more thick the colder it is. As the engine cools, it will thicken and fall to a thick goo in the the oil pan. When the engine is restarted, the oil needs to warm up to circulate properly. Until then, its thick bulk can make it harder for the engine to spin. Synthetic oils can be a big help in really cold regions, because they don’t thicken in low temperatures.
3. Batteries also function less effectively in cold weather. The chemical reactions they use to generate power are also more sluggish when the temperature is low, making it harder to turn over your engine.
What you can do about it
1. Prepare for the winter with proper tires, winter-weight oil, and antifreeze. Be sure to check your battery as the cold weather approaches. Replace it if needed. Proper maintenance all year long of course will always help. If you don’t know the proper winter oil weight for your vehicle, contact a helpful dealership like Mazda, Valparaiso, IN.
2. Additives like “Dry Gas” can also help if you live someplace cold enough that your fuel line could freeze. It is a fuel additive that prevents the gasoline from freezing.
3. Again, for really cold regions, consider the use of a “block heater” and/or a “battery heater” to keep things from freezing up.
When you go to start it
1. Make sure no lights are accessories are on before you turn the key. Try starting it normally. If it doesn’t crank over in 10 to 20 seconds seconds, give it another minute or two before trying again.
2. If it still won’t crank over after a couple tries, pump the accelerator once and try again.
3. If it still is not turning over sufficiently to start the engine, you may have a battery problem. Try jump starting it. If that fails, it’s probably time to call the Auto Club.