Starting Your Car in the Cold

Snowy road in winter aerial view

At Robert Basil Cadillac, we understand just how brutal Buffalo winters can be. That is why we are here to provide helpful tips, so you can be ready when cold weather arrives. If your car doesn’t start when cold but starts when warm, you may have questions about the cause. Robert Basil Cadillac covers this and more in the guide below. 

Why Won’t My Car Start When It’s Cold? 

What happens when your car won’t start when it’s cold, but starts when it’s warm? It could simply be how the cold affects your vehicle. There could be an underlying cause that needs to be addressed, though. If that’s the case, set up an appointment for service. Here are some common reasons why your car won’t start when it’s cold: 

  • Battery Output: Your battery may actually be less efficient in the cold.Car batteries produce less electrical current in colder temperatures. 
  • Engine Oil: Engine oil becomes thicker in the cold, so it doesn’t flow as well as it should. When this happens, the battery has to work harder than it usually does. 
  • Fuel Line: If there’s moisture in the fuel lines, then they can freeze and cause a fuel line blockage. Do you drive a diesel vehicle? If so, keep in mind that diesel can gel in the cold, taking longer to reach the engine.
  • Carburetor: Carburetors have small nozzles that can become clogged and can prevent any moisture from evaporating. This may be an issue if you drive an older vehicle. 

How to Start Your Car in the Cold

  • Turn all electrical systems off. Wait a couple of minutes before starting up your car, since these systems use up battery power. 
  • Dip the clutch when starting the ignition so that the battery does not have to work as hard.
  • Make sure your battery cables are not full of corrosion. 
  • Check the oil level, and if it is a bit low, top it off.

What is a Cold Start? 

What is a cold start? A cold start is just like a regular jump-start that’s performed on a car during colder temperatures. If your car doesn’t start when it’s cold, follow these steps: 

  1. Locate jumper cables and another driver with a vehicle who can assist you.
  2. Turn off both cars and put them in park. 
  3. Attach one of the red jumper cables to the positive terminal of the good battery. 
  4. Attach the other red jumper cable to the battery of the car that won’t start. 
  5. Attach the black jumper cable to the negative terminal on the good battery.
  6. Attach the remaining black cable to an unpainted metal surface on your vehicle. 

After these steps are complete, start up the car with the working battery. After a few minutes, shut the car off, and then, start your car. Once your car is ready to go, remove the cables in the reverse order you put them on. Keep your car running for at least 10-15 minutes so that the battery has time to charge.

Contact Robert Basil Cadillac for More Information

If you live in East Aurora and West Seneca, you know just how harsh winter can be on your car. That is why proper winter car care is a must. If you have any questions about maintaining your vehicle, reach out to the team at Robert Basil Cadillac. 


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