Hey, Why Does My Car Struggle To Start When Its Engine Is Cold?

Hey, Why Does My Car Struggle To Start When Its Engine Is Cold?
When the temperatures drop outside, everything on your engine seems to work twice as hard to get the vehicle started. Your vehicle's battery loses about half its capacity to crank over the engine. The oils that lubricate and complete certain functions of the engine flow at half the rate when it's cold, causing extra stress and pressure inside the engine. The gasoline burned during engine operation becomes harder to ignite as the temperatures drop outside. Ensure you have fresh oil and coolant and that your battery is up to the task.

Is Your Car Struggling To Start With a Cold Engine?

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.

Let's Get To The Bottom Of It!

  • Q: Is the engine starting and struggling to idle in cold weather?

    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.

  • Q: Does the engine only crank slowly if the outside temperature is below zero?

    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.

  • Q: When starting the engine in cold weather, is it immediately sputtering and dying in sequence?

    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.

All related issues checked?

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Hey, Why Does My Car Struggle To Start When Its Engine Is Cold?

Vehicle Health Inspection Proof

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.

Faulty battery

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.

Does the issue look like this? if not accessible your shop will document it

Typical Fixes to Address the Cause(s)

The following chapters bases themselves on experiences from our auto repair shop; we'll describe related problems' causes and fixes.

"Fuel pump replacement" fixes "Weak fuel pump"

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Sometimes a problem is more challenging to describe than it initially looked like. If you are not sure your problem is described by this article, please find below similar vehicle symptoms, which might describe better the issue you are experiencing.

Other things your auto repair shop might talk about:

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.

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