Updated at: 02-08-2023 - By: micdot

When It’s Cold Outside, How Often Should I Start My Car?

Yusuke Kohara is the author. Snow and freezing temperatures are just around the corner, and they bring with them a slew of new problems for your wheels. In the winter, automobiles tend to be less efficient. As a result, there are numerous myths. Many people advise me to start it up from time to time in order to keep the battery healthy. Is it true, though?

If it’s freezing outside, how often should I start up my car? If you don’t intend to drive, don’t start it. Contrary to popular belief, you should not attempt to start the engine just for the purpose of warming it up. Battery life might be harmed by continually starting the vehicle. For idling, this is also true. It’s recommended by experts that you drive about at low speed to warm up your engine. Some car owners make a habit of leaving their vehicles idling for a set period of time. Due to the lengthy time period required to get the battery up to temperature, its lifespan is reduced. When the engine is idling, it takes in too much fuel, which is not good for its lifespan.

Can I Start My Car In Cold Weather?

We all have a problem with this. When it’s freezing outside, crank the engine for a few minutes to get it warmed up before getting in. The question is, does it truly achieve that and keep it frozen, or does it cause long-term damage?

To keep your automobile from freezing, AAA’s Mike Calkins advises against warming it up. Cars don’t need to be started frequently in cold weather to charge their batteries, which is the most common winter fallacy about them. Contrary to popular belief, it is not how often I start my automobile that is the problem. If I were to ever start my car in the cold, I’d want to be sure it was fully operational before doing so. Drive slowly for up to 15 minutes or until the engine feels warm in order to do this.

Car won't start in the cold? Possible causes and preventative tips | RAC  Drive

Letting The Car Idle

Older generation cars that rely on carburetors may benefit from the habit of letting the vehicle idle. When the engine isn’t warmed up, it may not be able to get the correct combination of air and fuel, which could result in a stall. Using electronic fuel injection, the sensors are responsible for ensuring that the mixture is right. This is mainly inconsequential because the engine responds to changing weather conditions. Repeated starting or idling of newer cars does not benefit them. For winter, it takes just 30 minutes to heat up. If you don’t want to spend money on gas or pollute the environment, don’t waste time idling.

Your engine’s cylinders and pistons will be warmed up by removing the oil from them. It increases the amount of friction, which has the effect of speeding up the degrading process. When I’m driving, my car gets hotter than when it’s idling. This takes up to 15 minutes for the engine’s temperature to stabilize. Experts advise that you take it easy for the time being. Idling a vehicle while it is unattended is prohibited in more than 30 states. It’s designed to deter carjackings. Idling cars account for approximately 1.6% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a 2009 research. It is in the best interest of my wheels if I begin driving as soon as the engine has warmed up. Automakers are constantly working to enhance fuel efficiency in all weather situations, and you’ll profit from actually driving the car rather than idling. It also has the added benefit of speeding up the heating process.

My Car Won’t Start In Cold Weather

Both older and newer models of automobiles despise the cold weather. The first version is more likely to have faults, such as the automobile stalling, however later versions are less likely to have problems. Having a garage with a block heater will save you a lot of hassle if you keep your car there. When it comes to starting your car, there are two primary causes. The cold thickens the motor oil, causing the engine to work harder than it has to in order to get the job done.

Because it’s so cold outside, your battery’s performance is suffering. If your automobile won’t start in the cold, here are a few possible causes.

Why Won't My Car Start in the Cold? | The Family Handyman

1. The Battery Is Dead And Needs Replacing

Car batteries should be replaced every three to four years. The chemical reaction in your automobile battery slows down when the temperature is too low, such as below freezing, around three years after it is installed. The car may not start if the battery is weak. Jump-start your car with the help of another vehicle as a short-term fix. Take a set of jumper cables with you whenever you go out. Change your automobile battery as soon as possible because you never know when you’ll need it again.

If you’re positive the problem isn’t with the battery, examine the alternator.

2. There Is Water In The Fuel Line

However, water in the fuel line is unavoidable throughout the winter. Fuel lines freeze in temperatures below zero degrees Fahrenheit, therefore the engine is unable to receive fuel. As a result, your automobile won’t start because the combustion process has been halted. Condensation can occur in the fuel tank or the fuel line even if the automobile does not start, resulting in even more problems for the driver.

3. You May Not Have The Right Oil

Thinner oil, such as 5W-20, is recommended for winter driving in most autos. Oil thickens in cold weather and becomes more difficult to flow, affecting the battery’s already compromised performance. In the winter, thicker oils like 10W-30 can make things more difficult.

4. It Might Be A Carburetor Issue

It’s a problem with vehicles more than a quarter of a century old. Mixing the fuel and air together in a carburetor, they then pump this mixture into the engine. Because of the tiny nozzles known as “jets” that get clogged up in the winter, they tend to be sensitive. Engines using electronic fuel injection do not have this problem.

How Can I Start My Car In Cold Weather?

Though I haven’t been clear enough, I’ll say it again: Even if you don’t like the cold weather, your car does. Starting a car in subzero conditions is a problem that everyone has to deal with at some point or another. If you do something wrong, you’ll wind up with a flooded engine and a dead battery.

You can avoid damaging the engine by following these guidelines. Those under the age of 30 are only eligible for these discounts. Because the engine is cold, your car will require the full capacity of your battery to get it started. The first step is to turn off or unplug any unnecessary devices. As a result, the starter receives maximum power for starting the engine. After the engine has been started, you can plug them back in. In cold weather, thickening of oil leads the engine to work harder than ever before. The engine should fire up in about two seconds after you crank the keys. Do not try for more than 10 seconds because the starter can overheat and malfunction if it doesn’t. Try it again after a few minutes. When you start the engine, do not use the accelerator. Attempting to do so may cause the engine to overheat. Wait 30 minutes before trying again to dry out the spark plugs.

How to Start a Car in Cold Weather | YourMechanic Advice

Prevent Starting Problems In Cold Weather

The greatest way to avoid these issues is to avoid them in the first place. Here are a few tips to keep your car secure from the elements in light of that.

Use Block Heater

If you don’t have a heated garage, you can always utilize heaters to keep the engine warm. Depending on the weather, you can use a block heater or a battery heater to keep your engine warm at night. The engine and fluids are kept heated and circulating by plugging it into an electrical outlet. Battery heaters can also be used if they aren’t too expensive.

Park Your Car Under Shade

In the winter, a garage is the best place to park your car. There are times when any shade will suffice. Even a tree would be preferable than leaving your automobile out in the open. It takes less time for a car to warm up when it is parked in these conditions rather than in the open air.

Use Synthetic Oil

Synthetic oil performs better than mineral oil in temperatures below freezing. In cold temperatures, the latter thickens, whereas the latter remains fluid. It’s easier to get going using synthetic oil. As winter approaches, make an appointment with your service shop for an oil change.

Don’t Take A Chance With Your Battery

Batteries bear the brunt of the burden because of all the technological improvements. A automobile needs 25 percent of its battery power merely to get started in sub-zero temperatures, and that’s when it’s in peak condition. The demand for your car may be higher if it has any additional problems. Check the terminals for corrosion as well. A lack of power may be the end result.

Can I Leave My Car Out In Cold Weather?

As a last resort, you can park your automobile in an open area if you have no other choice. The worst that can happen to your car in the cold is that it won’t start. If you leave your automobile outside in the cold, you may run into the following problems. In the final stages of its life, a battery might die. The oil in your engine may thicken and become difficult to move. The car may not start if the spark plug is bad. A good spark plug can make a difference. Snowfall can cause a variety of wiper issues, including frozen washer fluid and the wipers. If the car tires are left outside in the icy weather, they begin to lose pressure.

Damages Of Leaving Car Outside In Cold Weather

How Cold Is Too Cold For My Car?

In order for it to be too cold for your car, the weather must be dangerously cold. At 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the battery begins to malfunction, and at -72 degrees Fahrenheit, your car’s batteries will freeze. When the oil gets thick in the winter, it’s probably unsuitable below -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

How Do I Improve Fuel Economy In Cold Weather?

When it comes to the weather and how it impacts your car, you have no control. However, you may improve your fuel efficiency by following the procedures outlined below. Parking your vehicle in a garage or other enclosed area is preferable. As a result, the battery and engine are not put under as much stress. Do not leave your automobile running in the driveway for too long. Remove snow from the windshield with an ice scraper.

Replace the oil with synthetic or cold weather-appropriate oil. Instead of making quick excursions, plan longer ones to give the engine time to warm up and to save money on gas. Make sure your tires are inflated to the proper level.


Should You Warm Up Your Car in Winter? | News | Cars.com

As long as you’re going to use your car for transportation, it’s best not to fire it up too much. If you don’t, you risk damaging the engine. It’s true that the battery eventually runs out, but that’s the price you pay for convenience. Idling is also not recommended because it wastes fuel and fails to adequately warm the engine. If you want, you may take the car out for a 15 to 30 minute drive to allow the engine to warm up and the fluids to flow freely.