Your cold car engine won’t start? There are very few things as disheartening as getting all caught up and braving the cold, only to discover that your vehicle engine won’t crank. Read down to know what to do to get yourself on the road again, and what you can do to keep this from occurring in the future.
How to Start a Cold Engine
Cars really are not really made for the cold. The battery, oil and other fluids, and even the rubber are all prone to cold temperatures and can potentially fail when the weather is freezing. Oil and other car fluids become thicker and more sluggish in cold weather, which makes the battery to work even harder. Even your fuel can get sluggish in the cold. But it’s just not possible to keep your vehicle warm all the time, or to always store it in a garage. So on those days when your vehicle doesn’t want to start in freezing weather, here’s the extra steps you should take.
Step 1 – Turn Everything Off
Ensure your heater, defroster, windshield wipers, headlights, and radio are all turned off. Putting electronics on when you try to start a cold engine will only sap more of the energy and make it more difficult for the vehicle to start.
Step 2 – Warm Up the Battery
Battery blankets are made to warm up batteries in extremely cold weather, but an ordinary heating pad will do the trick just as well. Heat up an electric heating pad and place it directly on the vehicle battery for just a few minutes to help warm the battery.
Step 3 – Crank the Engine
Turn the key and then crank the engine. If it doesn’t start, turn the key back to the off position, wait a few minutes, and try again.
Step 4 – Jump the Battery
If your engine still does not start, use jumper cables to jump-start the battery. You will need a friend with a running, working car and a set of jumper cables. Pull the friend’s car as close to the hood of your car as possible, and then make sure both vehicles are turned off. Connect one end of the cables to the functioning car, and the other end to your vehicle. Make sure the positive and negative symbols are matched up. (You will see little positive and negative symbols both on the cables and on the batteries.) Double-check that positive is with positive, and negative with negative. When the cables are securely connected, start the working car. Now, attempt to start your own cold engine again. When the vehicle starts, spend a few minutes pumping the gas and allowing the engine roar to get the fluids going through the engine and get everything heated back up. Remove take out the cables—do not allow the metal ends touch!—You are done.