auto repair

What to Do If Your Car Won’t Start in the Cold Weather

Winter mornings in Ohio can be very cold, snowy, and windy, and you may find that your car will not start.  When the temperature drops, there can be various reasons why your vehicle does not respond. Knowing the right thing to do in this situation is vital in order to get on the road as quickly as possible.

The auto repair experts at Overbeck Auto Services in Amelia will walk you through the most common reasons a car will not start in cold weather.

How Does Your Car Work?

When you insert the key into the ignition switch, the controller sends an electrical current through the starter relay. The starter relay is a small electromagnetic device that activates the starter motor. When the starter motor is energized, it turns the engine over, which causes the fuel and air mixture to be drawn into the cylinders. The spark plugs ignite the mixture creating a spark. This spark ignites the fuel in the cylinders which causes the engine to turn.

The engine turning creates compression, which forces the piston down on the intake cycle. This downward motion forces the exhaust valve to open, and the spent gasses are expelled from the engine. The cycle then starts over again and the engine continues to run. 

Unless all these parts come together correctly, your car will not start.

What Happens When It Is Cold Outside?

The biggest problem you face in cold weather is that the low temperature causes your car’s oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and other essential liquids to thicken, preventing them from flowing freely through the engine. If you have worn fuel or brake lines, the moisture outside can seep in and freeze, causing blockage and eventual breakage.

The battery is also under a lot of stress in cold weather. When the temperature falls below freezing, the battery’s output drops by as much as 50 percent making it harder to efficiently work. 

In addition, the cold can also affect the electronic systems in your car. The computer modules, sensors, and relays can all be adversely affected by the low temperatures.

When all these components fail, it can prevent your car from starting.

How to Start Your Car in Cold Weather

According to our expert auto mechanic, if you find yourself in a situation where your car will not start, there are a few things that you can do to increase your chances of getting it going,

Cycle the Key to Warm Up the Ignition

Ensure all the components that pull energy from the battery, such as the radio, heater, and interior lights are turned off. These components can draw power from the battery and prevent it  from starting the engine.

Next, put the key in the ignition and turn it to the “on” position, but do not start the car. Instead, hold it in this position for about 10 minutes. This will heat the ignition and help to get the engine going.

If this tactic isn’t successful, move on to the next one!

Try to Use a Jump Start

Your battery may need a little nudge to start the engine in cold weather. This is where a jump start comes in handy. Call a friend, a relative, or someone with a jumper cable. Park the running car next to the one that will not start and open both hoods. Connect one end of the jumper cable to the positive terminal on the good battery. Connect the other end of the jumper cable to the positive terminal on the dead battery. Do not connect the negative cables together.

Start the engine in the running car and let it run for a few minutes. Then try to start the vehicle that has had the jumper cables attached. If jumping the battery gets your car moving, allow it to run for a few minutes before disconnecting the cables and make sure to swing by the auto repair shop to have your battery checked.

There’s a good chance your battery will have future problems so getting it checked out  is a good idea.

Get it Towed to the Expert

If the above methods fail, it is time to call a tow truck and have your car towed to Overbeck Auto, the best auto repair in Amelia. Our professional car mechanics will be able to take a look at your vehicle, diagnose the problem and get you back on the road as quickly as possible. 

Taking Care Of Your Car During Winters

There are several ways to avoid the inconvenience and frustration of a car that won’t start. 

Winterizing

Overbeck Auto Services experts in Amelia know that the best way to prevent your car from breaking down in cold weather is by winterizing it. This includes putting a good coat of wax on the exterior to protect it from the snow and ice, filling up the washer fluid and antifreeze levels, and changing the type of oil. These small steps can help keep your car running longer and help prevent any costly repairs down the road. So before the cold weather creates havoc on your vehicle, take the time to drop by our shop and let us help you get ready for the winter months.

Warming Up Before You Zoom

Letting your car idle for a few minutes in the cold mornings avoids unnecessary strain on the engine and battery when you hit the gas. According to auto experts, the ideal thing to do is:

  • Start the car
  • Go slow and easy for a few minutes
  • Let the components warm up to the optimum temperature
  • Pick up the speed gradually

This will save you money on gas in the long run.

Get Your Car Winter-Ready

Do not wait till your car breaks down to take it in for a tune-up. Overbeck Auto Services offer a winter readiness package that includes a comprehensive inspection of your car’s major components, such as battery, brakes, tires, etc. This will help catch any potential problems before they turn into bigger problems.

If you are looking for peace of mind this winter and want to avoid car trouble, be sure to visit your trusted auto repair shop to get your car winter-ready today to make sure your engine is prepared to fire up the first time, every time.

Kirk Sporman