Why Won’t My Car Start in Cold Weather?

Cold weather is rough on your automobile, but you don’t need us here at Mike’s Auto Service & Repair to tell you that. If you’ve lived in West Springfield, MA, long enough to have gone through one winter, you’ve noticed that your vehicle doesn’t like to wake up in cold weather any more than you do, especially if you park it outside overnight. Why does cold weather make starting your car difficult? It boils down to liquid and power. We’ll explain further.

Gas Evaporation Decreases in Frigid Temperatures

High school chemistry taught you that heat evaporates liquid, so it makes perfect sense that the gas in your tank will evaporate more in the summer than it will in the winter. In order to burn, your engine vaporizes gasoline, i.e. it heats it up and ignites it. Because winter weather reduces the gasoline’s ability to evaporate, it can make starting your automobile on a cold morning a chore. You might know the ether trick – spray ether on the engine to start it. This works because ether evaporates in cold weather.

Oil Is Thicker When it’s Cold Outside

Freezing temperatures also affect your car, truck, or SUV’s motor oil. Think of your motor oil as pancake syrup. If you store the syrup in the refrigerator, it gets thick and gooey. If you pop it in the microwave to warm it up, it gets thin and watery. The same thing happens to oil; the only problem is that your engine needs the oil thin and watery. When you first start your car, the thick, gooey oil tries to make its way through the engine, but its consistency makes it hard for the engine to spin like it needs to.

You Lose Battery Power in Cold Weather

Finally, you may listen to your engine crank and crank before it refuses to start. If the temperature is below freezing and your vehicle has been sitting outside, the cranking does not necessarily mean that you have an issue with the alternator or starter. Batteries cannot generate power as easily in icy temps because the chemical reaction is slowed by the frigid air. When the mercury drops to 32 degrees or below, you lose anywhere from 30 percent to 60 percent of your battery’s power.

These reasons are why it’s hard to start your vehicle in the winter but Mike’s Auto Service & Repair can help. Schedule a fall maintenance visit at our West Springfield, MA, auto shop now to avoid winter trouble. Our number is 413-523-0180.

Call Mike's Auto Service & Repair at 413-737-7806 for an appointment today!

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