Car Won’t Start In Cold – Causes And Solutions

Cold weather causes the car’s antifreeze, oil, and transmission fluid to thicken. If these fluids are too thick, they can’t flow properly through the engine. And if moisture seeps in through a broken or worn fuel line, these fluids will freeze and eventually cause blockages.

Cold weather also makes it harder for the spark plugs and battery to work since it increases electrical resistance. Your car may refuse to start on a cold day due to one of these reasons. But before doing anything, you have to find the real cause of the problem.

Why Won’t My Car Start in the Cold

Frigid temperatures can affect several components of your car, such as the battery, fuel lines, and carburetor. Here, we will discuss why your car won’t start in cold and how you can solve it.

The battery is dead

Since the car’s essential fluids thicken when it’s cold, your vehicle requires more battery power to start. So if your batteries are dead, don’t expect your car to start on a cold day. You can jumpstart the car if you’re in a hurry to get back on the road. However, you need access to another car and jump cables.

So what else can you do to help your battery on a cold day? Don’t forget to switch off the lights, heaters, radio, and wipers before turning off the engine. That way, you can avoid draining the car battery.

Also, ensure no phone chargers or other accessories are left plugged in. And if you can, park your car in your garage. Try to limit the use of heated seats and screens as they can drain the battery. If you tried everything and nothing works, perhaps it’s time to replace your battery.

There’s a problem with the starter motor

Modern cars have a heavy-duty starter motor that can handle the demands of continuous engine cycles. The starter motor gets the car engine running. And if the starter motor malfunctions, your car won’t even budge.

Perhaps you turned the ignition key and heard a clicking noise. To top it off, the engine refused to start. The problem is probably due to a faulty starter motor. Jumpstarting your car will not work if your starter motor is malfunctioning.

A new starter motor will be required. Starter motors are not expensive, but replacing them can take up a lot of your time. So if you’re busy, take your car to a trained mechanic, and they will replace the starter motor for you.

The car struggles to start when engine is cold

If your car refuses to start in the winter, it’s likely due to a frozen engine. Driving the vehicle will worsen the problem as the engine could overheat, so avoid turning your car on. Instead, park it in a warm spot and leave it alone.

You can also put a space heater next to your car to expedite the process. After leaving the vehicle in a warm spot, allow the engine to thaw out. Although it’s inconvenient, it will help you save money and time on unnecessary repairs.

It’s also a good idea to put antifreeze in your car. Your engine may freeze because you forgot to replace the coolant. Antifreeze protects the engine from corrosion. It also improves heat transfer and prevents scale and rust build-up. So once your engine is no longer frozen, you only need to drain your coolant and put the new antifreeze.

How to Cold Start a Car

A cold start might be necessary if you haven’t used your car for a long time or if your vehicle refuses to start on a cold day. In other words, you must start the car engine when it is cold. This process heats the oil that has settled at the bottom and allows the engine to regain its normal temperature. But how do you cold start a car? Here’s how.

Starting your car in cold weather

First, turn off your windshield wipers, headlights, heaters, radio, defroster, and other electronics to allow the battery to focus its energy on starting the car. Next, start your vehicle by turning the key and holding it for about 10 seconds.

If your car refuses to start, allow it to rest for a bit then try again. In case it doesn’t start at all, remove the battery and warm it up inside your home or garage. Once it’s warmed up, put it back in the car and see if the engine will start. If you don’t want to remove the battery or can’t get the engine to start, you can jumpstart the battery.

After starting the car, wait for about 30 seconds, then drive slowly for the first couple of minutes. All components of the engine should be warmed up by then. Avoid idling for more than five minutes as it can strain the engine.

How to prevent engine problems during winter

Consider parking your car in a garage to protect it from the elements. Covered parking protects the car’s inner workings and exterior by safeguarding them from extreme temperatures. You can also park under a tree or carport.

Also, consider investing in a battery or block heater if you live in a place that experiences extreme cold. In the morning, you will have a warm engine that won’t require a cold start.

You also need to use the correct motor oil. Check the car manual to see what oil you should use for your car. The right oil will easily flow to all the engine’s essential components and lubricate them.


Cars may refuse to start due to the abovementioned reasons. But you can save yourself from unnecessary stress and expenses by preventing them in the first place. You can brave the cold and avoid surprises by getting the car ready for winter. Consider winterizing your vehicle to prepare it for the cold weather. Visit the nearest shop to get your tires, essential car fluids, battery, and engine checked and equipped for winter.

About The Author

AutoMotto Staff

We are a team of enthusiasts thriving to provide you with helpful advice on buying everything you may ever need for you vehicle.

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