top of page


There are many reasons why an engine has difficulty starting at different temperatures, especially when it's cold your engine will be much colder than usual. Extremely cold temperatures can make it difficult to start your car's engine.

Older car engines are often difficult to start in cold temperatures, but if your new car has a hard-to-start fuel injection system, there's definitely something wrong. Here are the most common reasons why it's hard for your car to start in cold weather.

Car battery is exhausted

One of the top reasons why a car won't start is usually the battery. In addition, cold weather can cause the battery to drain faster.

Inside the battery, chemical reactions must take place to get enough water. As the temperature drops, chemical reactions occur more slowly. If the battery has failed, there may not be enough chemical reaction to produce the power the starter needs.

When the battery capacity is lower, you will have difficulty starting. Next time you try, it may die completely.

Wrong engine oil

As the temperature drops, the oil in your car's engine becomes thicker. If the oil is too thick, it won't circulate through the engine properly, causing parts to lack lubrication.

To push the thick oil around, the engine needs to work harder. Ultimately, this leads to problems starting the car in cold weather.

You may be using the wrong oil viscosity. However, it is also possible that your car just needs an oil change. As contaminants and dirt build up in the oil, it can become denser and harder to push through the engine.

Faulty coolant temperature sensor

When the engine is cold, it needs more fuel to run, especially to start. Your coolant temperature sensor measures the temperature in the coolant, and if it's cold, it tells the ECM to add more fuel to the injectors.

If the coolant temperature sensor is faulty, it may not know that the engine is cold and needs more fuel and this will make it difficult to start the engine in cold weather. A bad intake air temperature sensor can also cause this condition for the same reason.

Ignition failure

The ignition kicks off the electrical aspects of the car when you turn the key. In order for the engine to start and run, the ignition must work.

You might think it's a battery problem at first, especially if nothing happens when you turn the key in the first place. However, if you have power for accessories, such as headlights and car radios, there is no problem with the battery. In this case, you'll want to check the igniter. In some cases, a damaged igniter can work intermittently, meaning you may be able to start the car after a few tries.

If the engine is running when you put the key in, the ignition isn't your problem. However, if you can't start the engine and don't hear a click when turning the key, you may need to replace the igniter.


Find a place to "hide" the cars

Car engines and batteries don't like cold weather. If possible, keep the car warmer during the winter months. The most practical approach is to park your car in the garage. Of course, it would be better if this garage was heated, but that is not always possible.

If you don't have a garage to use, park next to something big. If you can park your car next to a building or a tree, the car will still be a little warmer. You can also park under a garage for a small shelter. Each of these options can make your car a few degrees warmer than if you parked it in open, open areas.

If the temperature drops very low, you can invest in an engine block heater or a battery heater. These can keep the car warm overnight, allowing you to start the car more easily in the morning.

Use the right oil

You should follow the recommendations in the user manual that tell you which oil to use for your vehicle. Most synthetic oils flow well even when temperatures drop, but it's important that you have the right viscosity.

Oil is rated according to how it reacts to certain temperatures. The first number stands for the winter temperature rating, which is why it has a “W” attached to it. The lower this number, the better it flows in cold climates.

Check if your battery leads are clean and tight

Locate your car battery under the hood and take a close look at the cables. If you can see signs of corrosion – a salty, brittle substance – then you need to clean it up for the battery to function properly.

If your cables are not corroded, you should still check their tightness, as loose cables can prevent normal current from flowing. If the clamps are loose, re-tighten them before re-igniting.

Replace battery

If your battery has recently died, you might consider taking it to the garage to have it replaced. You should perform regular battery health checks, making sure that the terminals are clean and the wires are solid.

Always fill-up the car's gas tank

Did you know that starting a cold car in the morning uses 40% more fuel than usual? In other words, make sure your car has enough gas for the next day when you get home from work the night before.

Source: Khoi Nguyen - 5/12/2022

VnEconomy Automotive

18 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page