What to Do if Your Car Won’t Start: Winter Tips

January 10th, 2019 by

When wintry weather goes from charming to frightful, it can be hard to drag yourself out of the house in the morning. Even worse, once you get out the door, your car may refuse to start! Short of having a backup plan in place, what can you do to make sure you get where you need to be on cold winter mornings?

First, let’s look at the reasons your car might not start.

  • Your battery may have trouble producing current. The chemical reactions needed to produce power work faster on a warm day than they do on a cold day, and this can lead to trouble starting your car.
  • The engine oil may be too thick. Engine oil can get sluggish in cold weather, making it more difficult to pump through the engine block. This can put a strain on the battery, and keep your car from starting.
  • There might be a blockage in the fuel lines. This can happen when moisture gets into the fuel lines and freezes.
  • If you drive an older car, the trouble could be your carburetor. Carburetors have small nozzles that can get easily clogged, keeping moisture from evaporating and causing ice to build up, which can keep your car from starting. If your car is less than 20 years old, though, you probably don’t have a carburetor.

Now that you know the reasons it might not be starting, what can you do to get it running? You may be able to start the car just by being a little bit patient and giving it a few tries. Turn off everything electrical, then try to crank the car. If it doesn’t catch right away, crank it for a few seconds, but be careful not to overheat your starter. If the first try doesn’t work, wait a few minutes and try again: your first attempt may have loosened things up enough to make it work the second time. If all else fails, though, it may be time for a jump start.

The best way to avoid getting stuck on a winter morning is to take some steps ahead of time to prevent it. Keep your car warm, either by storing it inside a garage or by using an engine block heater. Use the right oil, checking your car’s manual to learn which oil that would be. You might also talk to your mechanic about using dry gas occasionally or some other type of fuel conditioner that will keep your lines from freezing. Of course, keeping your car properly maintained by a professional is the best way to make sure it starts when it’s supposed to, no matter the season.

At Jerry’s Toyota, we offer maintenance to keep your car and all its systems running in top condition. Our unmatched service, combined with our diverse Toyota inventory, have given us the reputation that makes us the preferred dealer in the Baltimore area. Visit our website to learn more about all we have to offer, and peruse available vehicles, or just come by and experience the Jerry’s Toyota Difference for yourself.