If you deal with street parking during the winter, maybe it’s happened to you. You bundle up and head out to brush that mound of snow off your car. You scrape a layer of ice off the windshield. But when you throw your keys into the ignition to start heating things up—nothing happens. You probably have a harder time getting up and running in the winter. Unfortunately, the same is true for your car.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons your car won’t start in cold weather:
Batteries produce less current in freezing temperatures, slowing down the chemical reaction. Your car won’t start if your battery doesn’t have enough power. Do you hear a clicking noise when you turn the key in the ignition? Then you probably have a dead battery. In this case, you’ll have to jump your car or head to the garage.
In cold weather, engine oil thickens and doesn’t flow as well. This makes moving the engine parts even more difficult. Your battery, already weakened by the cold, has to work harder to get the engine going. Keep in mind, using the wrong oil for your vehicle may also be a factor when your car won’t start. Check your owner’s manual to find out.
If your engine will turn over but the car won’t start, you may be low on fuel. Condensation forms more easily in an empty tank. That moisture can find its way into your fuel lines, freeze, and cause blockages. When cold weather hits, err on the side of caution. Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid an expensive problem.
If your car was built in the last 20 years, you can skip this one. However, drivers of older cars (built before the mid-1980’s) should be aware that cold weather can cause carburetor issues. Carburetors are delicate instruments with tiny nozzles. Because they get easily clogged with ice and fuel, this could be the reason your car won’t start.
Still not sure which problem is yours? We’re here to help. Call a Veenstra’s repair specialist at (616) 202-3534 to schedule a 22-point inspection.