Reasons why a car is difficult to start in cold weather & how to fix

Low temperatures can make your car battery produce less current, which makes it harder for your engine to start in the morning. This is a regular occurrence. Additionally, the cold can prevent your engine oil from flowing as it should, putting additional stress on the battery. In general, automobiles and the cold don’t get along.

The last thing you want to deal with on a chilly morning as you drive out to the driveway is a car that won’t start. However, combining the colder weather with malfunctioning car parts can be disastrous. You run the risk of arriving late to work if your automobile is difficult to start when chilly.

Whatever the cause, you must quickly find a solution so that you can continue driving. Well, in this article we’ll be discussing all the reasons why a car won’t start in cold or snowy weather and possible way to fix it.

Reasons why a car is difficult to start in cold weather & how to fix it?

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So, let’s dive in!


Reasons why a car is difficult to start in cold weather & how to fix it?

Below are the reasons why a car is difficult to start in cold weather;

car battery issues

The battery is by far the most likely culprit if a car won’t start during a cold season.

Its symptoms

  • When you turn the key in the ignition, you could hear a small whining sound, but if the starter motor doesn’t turn on, you probably have a flat battery.
  • You might not hear anything if the battery is completely dead or if the wires connecting the battery have become loose.
  • The dashboard’s ignition lights not working and the car not unlocking via remote central locking are additional indicators of a completely dead battery.

Read more: How to maintain a car battery

Its Possible Solution

  • You could jump-start your car if you need to move quickly and are in a hurry. However, you’ll need a different car and access to Jumper cables.

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faulty solenoid or starter motor

The starter motor is in charge of starting the engine. You can hear a clicking or whirring sound when you try to crank it when it malfunctions.

Its symptoms

  • When you crank the ignition key, a clicking noise is the first obvious indicator of a damaged starter motor, followed by the engine’s refusal to turn over and start.
  • If the in-car electrics and all of the lights function properly, this also suggests that there is a problem with the starter motor rather than the battery.
  • If the starter motor fails, nothing, not even jump starting, will work.

Read more: How to Properly Jump-Start a Car

Its possible solution

  • The best option might be to replace the starter motor. However, this is typically a job for a skilled repair.
  • The work could take up to a half-day, but they’re not very pricey. Typically, a new starter will be installed in place of your old one; manufacturers occasionally update the designs.

Car alternator issues

  • When the engine is running, the alternator, an electrical generator, charges the battery in your car. If your battery is relatively fresh and it keeps dying, this is probably where the issue is.

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Its symptoms

  • When you jump start a car, if the engine quickly shuts off, this indicates a bad alternator.
  • If the alternator has recently overheated, you can also notice your headlights and dashboard lights flashing, the car’s gauges moving in a bumpy way, and even a burning smell entering the cabin.

Its possible solution

  • The best course is to replace one. Since the alternator is connected to both the battery and the engine, it is better to leave replacing one with the pros unless you are a skilled mechanic.
  • Finding a replacement part shouldn’t be too difficult, or you can choose to have your current alternator refurbished. A garage shouldn’t spend more than two hours on the task.

Ignition Switch Issues

When you turn the key, the ignition switch kicks the car’s electrical system into gear. The ignition switch needs to be in good working order for the engine to start and run.

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Its symptoms

  • When you first turn the key and nothing happens, you might initially assume there is a battery problem. There is nothing wrong with the battery, though, if the extras, like the headlights and car radio, are powered. In this situation, you should check the ignition switch.

Its possible solutions

  • An intermittently functioning ignition switch may occasionally allow you to start the car after a few attempts.
  • If the engine won’t start and the key doesn’t make a clicking sound, the ignition switch likely has to be replaced.

Car fuel system issues

Car fuel systems may over time develop water contamination. When the water freezes due to cold weather, this might affect combustion and potentially prevent the engine from starting. The fuel lines that supply each individual injector are where the problem is most severe. These can become blocked by little ice particles because they are so narrow, depriving the engine of fuel.

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Its symptoms

  • Other signs of a fuel system issue, besides the engine not starting, are a stuttering engine, especially when accelerating, and a generally jerky feeling to the car’s power delivery.
  • While driving, the engine could possibly completely shut off.

Its possible solutions

  • You may need to have the system professionally cleaned if your car’s gasoline lines contain water. However, some additives can lessen contamination by passing water through the exhaust while keeping it suspended in alcohol.
  • By keeping your car’s fuel tank almost full, you can lessen the chance of condensation and lower the risk of water infiltration. Additionally, diesel fuel can ‘thicken’ and become less freely flowing in cold temperatures, which presents an additional challenge for your car to conquer in the winter.

Coolant Temperature Sensor Issues

An engine needs a lot more fuel to run while it is cold, especially when beginning. When the coolant is cold, your coolant temperature sensor detects it and alerts the ECM to increase the fuel injection.

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Its symptoms

  • Your car could overheat and have trouble starting, especially in the winter, if the coolant temperature sensor is broken.
  • It might not be aware that the engine is cold and needs more fuel, which will make starting the engine in cold conditions challenging. The same logic also applies to a defective air intake temperature sensor.

Its possible solutions

  • If the temp sensor or any other broken sensor is being pointed out by any issue codes, use a diagnostic tool to check the trouble codes. The best course of action, when it is confirmed to be defective, is to replace it.
  • Fortunately, this is a straightforward fix for the majority of car models. By complying with a few straightforward rules and safety considerations, you can replace a faulty CTS in your automobile.

How to Avoid Car Starting Issues in Cold Weather

Below shows how to properly care for a car during winter;

Apply the Proper Oil

You must abide by all instructions regarding the type of oil to use for your car in the owner’s manual. Even when temperatures drop, most synthetic oils still flow smoothly, but it’s crucial to have the proper viscosity.

Oil is rated based on how it reacts to different temperatures. The first number bears a “W” next to it because it represents the winter temperature rating. In frigid climates, the lower this number, the better it flows.

Read more: How to maintain a car battery

Providing a proper shelter for the car

The chilly weather is not pleasant for the engine or the car’s battery. In the winter, if you can, keep the car warmer. Parking your car in a garage is the most sensible strategy. Of course, a heated garage would be ideal, but that isn’t always an option.

If you don’t have a garage, park close to a big object. The car will stay a bit warmer if you can park close to a structure or a tree. If you want a little protection, you may consider parking under a carport. If you choose one of these alternatives instead of parking in an open space, your car may get a few degrees warmer.

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How do you fix a cold hard start?

  • Switch off everything.
  • When starting the ignition, dip the clutch.
  • Verify that the battery leads are tidy and securely fastened.
  • Fill the engine with oil.
  • Change the battery.
  • Maintain a full tank of gas.

Why does my car have a hard time starting when it’s cold?

There could be issues in several places that prevent a car from starting in cold weather. Battery: Colder temperatures have an impact on the battery’s internal chemical process and lessen its capacity to keep a charge. Alternator: In cold weather, alternator belts may crack, making it more challenging to charge your battery.

How to fix a car with a hard starting?

Replace your spark plugs as advised by the manufacturer, and check your plug wires frequently to ensure they are connected correctly and have not burned. Use only brand-new fuel, regularly inspect and swap out your fuel filters, and treat your fuel with a fuel treatment to keep your fuel system clean.

How do you help a cold start on a car?

If your battery is running low on power, the starter motor may not react as quickly as it usually does when you flip the key. However, there is no danger in keeping the key in the “start” position for a few seconds to give the motor time to preheat and start.

What is the common cause of hard starting?

A failing starter or a fading battery are two common causes of difficult starts. However, it may add to the confusion if your car struggles to start even after a little period of inactivity. Low fuel pressure is one of the most frequent causes of this when it occurs.

What sensors can cause a hard start?

The crankshaft position sensor may really be to blame for hard start symptoms and starter failure rather than the starter itself. The crankshaft sensor may be the cause of one or more of these symptoms in your car.

What is used to aid in cold engine starting?

For cold weather starts, use block heaters or glow plugs on the engine. The internal combustion chamber area is heated by glow plugs to the proper combustion temperatures. In contrast, cold gasoline sprayed into the glow plugs and into the chamber may gel and stick to these components.

Where is the cold start sensor?

It is immediately next to the ECU coolant temperature sensor (not the gauge temperature sensor) on the lower intake manifold, underneath the throttle body.

How do I know if my cold start sensor is bad?

Hard starting, a drop in fuel efficiency, and concerns with engine performance are common warning signals.

That’s all for this article where the reasons why a car is difficult to start during cold and how to fix were discussed. Hope it was helpful. If so, kindly share. Thanks for reading.