Wednesday, December 8, 2021

FROZEN OUT Why doesn’t my car start in cold weather? Top Tips to Get Your Engine Back on the Road

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FROSTED windows, icy roads, engines won’t start and under-snow are just some of the problems we need to be prepared for this winter.

We can’t help with everything, but we can explain what to do if your vehicle won’t start with our guide to get you going again.

Much like people who need multiple layers of clothing in low temperatures, cars also need a little preparation to get started.

When cars don’t start, it’s often because their engine oil has thickened in the cold, which increases friction and makes it difficult for the starter to turn the engine.

Cold, damp weather can sometimes be a problem for the batteries because the vehicle electrics have to work much harder.

The RAC says most of their winter uses involve car batteries.

Avoid this if you can. Leaving your car’s engine running before you set off won’t really help the engine, it will only increase your fuel consumption and emissions.

Cars that are more than 20 years old need a warm-up period to get going in cold weather.

But most modern engines adjust their temperature accordingly, so auto experts say you shouldn’t run your car for more than 30 seconds before driving.

Pouring hot water on a frosted windshield might be a good idea, but it can actually cause the glass to break if there is a small crack in your windshield.

The best method, according to meteorologist Ken Weathers, is to make your own solution with rubbing alcohol and water from a spray bottle.

Mr Weathers says he mixes 1/3 of a cup of water with 2/3 of a cup of rubbing alcohol to make the thaw spray. It works because rubbing alcohol has a freezing point of -128 ° C.

Always keep an ice scraper for the car window in the car as a backup.

To prevent a battery problem from occurring in the first place, it can be helpful to charge the battery at least once a week during the winter months, especially if it is more than three years old.

A car battery comfort meter can help monitor its condition. However, if your battery isn’t charging well, it may be worth replacing if possible.

There are also a few small things you can do to keep your battery in decent condition:

Check your car’s manual to find out which oil to use when it’s cold.

Modern synthetic oils flow quite well in the cold, as long as you use the right one.

You’ll need to use an extra weight oil, identified by two numbers (like 10W-40, which is common).

The first number with the W stands for winter; lower means it flows more easily.

There are 5W and even 0W oils available, but check your manual. It is even more important if your car uses conventional rather than synthetic oil.

And if your car won’t start at all, you may need to use your jump leads – here’s a how-to guide.

Click here for more tips from auto experts RAC on navigating your car in any weather.

Finally, read our guide to driving in snow and ice here.

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