The engine struggles to start in the cold because of the battery. In this case, the chemical reactions within a battery are slower in the cold, whereas its internal resistance increases. Additionally, a weak fuel pump, dirty fuel injectors, heavier/thicker oil(common to occur in cold weather), and carbon deposits can also be culprits.
When your car's engine struggles to start, it's important to note any observable symptoms. Pay attention to how the car behaves when you turn the key. Does it make a clicking sound, or is it completely silent? Every detail is crucial as they get closer to a diagnostic.
In this article, we will provide you with all the necessary information on communicating effectively with your mechanic and informing them of your car's symptoms. Additionally, we will discuss specific issues that your vehicle may be experiencing based on its symptoms.
Your car's battery is a box that stores electricity. This electricity powers the car's parts, making the engine start. However, in cold weather, the battery struggles to perform because of a chemical reaction that happens inside. Imagine the battery is like a half-empty juice box. When it's freezing out, the battery acts like it's half of whatever it was in average weather. So if the battery is already weak, it might not have enough energy to help the engine start when it's cold.
The fuel pump is a part of the gas tank. It ensures enough pressure to spray the gas into the engine so it can burn and power the car. But if the fuel pump is old and worn, it struggles to create enough pressure. This means the gas won't spray swiftly, and the engine won't burn properly, especially in cold weather. Also, as the pump ages, it takes longer to generate enough pressure to start the car. This is why sometimes you must turn the key for a long time before the car finally starts.
The fuel injectors are like little sprayers that shoot gas into the engine. They make the gas into tiny droplets; this makes them burn quickly, helping the car go. But if the injector's nozzle gets dirty, the gas won't release in tiny droplets. Instead, it might dribble out and not burn properly, especially in cold weather, as gas doesn't ignite as easily in lower temperatures. So when the injector is dirty, and the weather is cold, the engine struggles to run smoothly, even when idling.
The oil in your car's engine is essential because it helps keep all the parts working smoothly. But it's not just any oil - it needs to be a specific oil that matches what your engine was built to use. The type of oil depends on the temperature where you live. If you use a thicker or heavier oil than your engine needs, it can cause damage to your engine. It's like trying to run a race wearing boots instead of sneakers - it's too heavy and slow. When it's cold outside, the thicker oil won't be able to move around the engine quickly enough, making it harder for the engine to start.
The spark plugs in your car help light a small fire inside the engine that makes it go. But spark plugs have a tough job because they must work in hot and harsh conditions. As you use your car, the spark plugs will wear out over time, and the gap will get bigger. This can make them weaker and not as hot, which can cause problems. When it's freezing outside, this problem gets even worse. If your spark plugs are already worn out, your engine might not be able to start at all, or it might run rough until the engine warms up.
The engine in your car needs air to work correctly, and the air comes in through the intake. But over time, some dirty stuff called carbon deposits can build up inside the intake because of the way the engine works and because of heat. When there's too much carbon buildup, the airflow through the intake can be blocked. This can cause the engine to get too much fuel and not enough air, making it run poorly or not start at all, especially when it's freezing outside.
Explore the following typical inspection results that show a potential cause for the symptom and select the one you believe is similar to your vehicle's issue.
The proof image shows the battery testing. Unfortunately, the battery was not providing enough power to start the car, even though it was rated for much more.
A customer brought their car and explained they had trouble starting it in cold weather. They mentioned that the engine barely cranked over, and the car wouldn't start. Later in the day, the car started when it was warmer but still cranked slowly.
During the test drive, the technician noticed that the car started but cranked slowly. The technician then did a vehicle health inspection and tested the battery using an electronic tester. The results showed that the battery had 232 CCA, much lower than the battery's rating of 700 cold-cranking amps.
Note that CCA stands for "Cold Cranking Amps." It measures the battery's ability to start the engine in cold temperatures. The higher the CCA rating, the more influential the battery is at starting the engine in cold temperatures.
The technician also tested the charging system and found it working correctly. However, based on the tests, the technician determined the battery was faulty and needed to be replaced. The battery no longer provided enough power to start the car properly, especially in cold temperatures.
Car struggles to start when engine is cold. Starter motor. Fuel lines. Engine oil. Car batteries. Dead battery. Fuel tank. Motor oil. Fuel line. Car fuel system. Cold dark mornings. Freezing temperatures Battery power.