What To Do When Your Car Wont Start On A Cold Morning
The cold dark mornings have crept back into our daily lives and once again, our cars are bearing the brunt of the frosty weather and becoming sluggish as we head deeper into winter.
What do you do in the morning when your car wont start? You should be on your way to a crucial meeting but youre faced with calling a rescue service, ordering a taxi and making grovelling phone calls to apologise and try to rearrange all your important appointments.
Its a common occurrence as low temperatures can cause your car battery to produce less current, making it that much harder for your engine to turn over in the morning. The cold can also stop your engine oil from flowing as well as it should, which puts even more strain on the battery. Essentially, cars and cold dont get on well.
In this guide, we look at the main reasons why cars can struggle to start on cold mornings, offer six practical tips on how to get the engine going, and show you how to prevent non-starters in the future.
No Click When You Turn The Key
If there is definitely power in the battery, but nothing is happening when you turn the key, there are a couple of quick things to try.
In a manual car, make sure you’re pushing the clutch all way to the floor and nothing has rolled behind it to obstruct movement.
In an automatic, make sure you have fully selected park, or move it out of park and back again, then try the ignition. Alternatively, you could try starting it in neutral.
If nothing happens still, then it could be a problem with the starter motor or ignition switch. Both problems will need a mechanic to take a look at them so you should take your car to your preferred garage immediately.;
A Bad Head Gasket Might Be Why Your Car Won’t Start
The fabled blown head gasket isn’t something anyone wants to deal with. Among serious problems like blowing smoke from the tailpipe and leading to the engine overheating, a bad head gasket can also make it difficult to start your car. You see, the head gasket not only prevents the coolant and engine oil from mixing, it also keeps these things out of the combustion chambers. If water or oil gets in there, it may prove difficult to start the car
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If Your Car Wont Start Can You Fix It Yourself
This all depends on what the fix is. If it is just a matter of cleaning or tightening your battery cables, or even replacing your battery, this can be done by anyone with some basic mechanical skills.
But it is very important to verify the exact cause of why your car wont start after a jump, so that it doesnt happen again. Even though a new battery is easy to install and a relatively affordable fix, determining the root cause of the problem will save you money and time in the long run. Thats where a mechanic can help. Talk to one before you start tinkering around.
About the Author
Stephen has been an automotive enthusiast since childhood, owning some of his vehicles for as long as 40 years, and has raced open-wheel formula cars. He follows and writes about the global automotive industry, with an eye on the latest vehicle technologies.
How To Change Your Starter Motor
Weve all heard the dreaded click, click, click, click that occurs when you turn the key and nothing happens. Something is wrong with the cars electrical system, and after replacing the battery, or attempting to jump-start the car, youve determined its likely your starter motor.;
Its important to note that manufacturers often have different starter motor locations. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions here, so youll have to do a little investigative homework to determine the location and what you need to do to replace it. Heres a brief and general explanation of how to replace your starter motor.
Don’t let your car get to this point.;
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Testing The Ignition System
Completely Clogged Fuel Filter
Your fuel filter should be replaced about every 20,000 kilometers. This filter is responsible for collecting dirt, carbon, and other debris and filtering it out of your engine and fuel tank. Over time, it can become extremely dirty.
If you cant remember the last time you had your fuel filter changed, its possible that its become so clogged that it wont even allow gasoline into your engine and this may be the reason your car wont start.
The bad news is that its not easy to replace your fuel filter yourself, unlike your engine air filter. But the good news is that its a simple and cheap fix at a local service station, so you wont spend an arm and a leg repairing your car.
If youve recently replaced your fuel filter, this likely isnt the problem, so lets move on to the last reason your car may not start.
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How About The Ignition Switch
If you confirmed that the fuses are in decent shape, then the most common issue could be the ignition switch.
It is important to clarify that the ignition switch is not the housing where you insert the key inside. It is an internal component within your starting system that your key touches to get the vehicle started.;
Like many other vehicle components, the ignition switch can go bad at some point in time, although it’s not very common.;
Luckily, when your ignition switch goes bad, your vehicle would tell you even before it gets bad. Here are some; of the most common signs of a bad ignition switch:
- Your vehicle cannot start
- You will not hear any noise coming from the starter motor, indicating it is working
- Your vehicles dashboard will flicker
Suppose you confirmed it’s your ignition switch causing the problem. In that case, you need to take your vehicle to a professional mechanic and get the problem resolved as soon as possible to avoid more complications requiring high repair costs.;
Blocked Or Clogged Fuel Filter
A clogged fuel filter means the petrol or diesel cant reach the engine which, unsurprisingly, means your engine wont be able to burn the fuel it needs to start.
It will not be obvious if your fuel filter is blocked, but as a rule of thumb they should be changed every 15,000-20,000 miles so make sure you prevent this becoming an issue;by getting the filter changed at the appropriate service times consult your vehicle;handbook for more information.
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Is Car Battery Dead If Lights Still Working
Well, as we mentioned before, working lights do not usually indicate a good battery. Some bad batteries can still maintain a small charge that is enough to start the lights but not strong enough to get the engine going.
Therefore, you can always give your battery a jump start and see if it can start the engine or not. If your battery fails to start the engine, you need to replace your cars battery assuming all connections are in good shape.;
Ensuring The Engine Is Getting Fuel
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What Do I Do If My Car Wont Start
Depending on the reasons behind your car failing to start or turn over, you may be able to fix the issue yourself or with the help of a fellow driver.
However, some issues arent quite so easy to fix, including those not on this list such as such as faulty components, electronics, mechanical failure -;so for complete peace of mind consider RAC breakdown cover that includes home start assistance.
If its a reoccurring issue, you might want to use the RAC Approved Garage Network to find a local garage thats guaranteed to provide quality work and exceptional customer service, giving you complete peace of mind.
And just in case the worst should happen out on the roads, make sure you have the correct breakdown cover in place.
How Can I Trade
Selling your non-working car to CarBrain couldnt be easier. All you have to do to get started is click get offer. Type in your cars information and details, including whats wrong with the car.
If possible, upload current photos of the vehicle demonstrating any damage it has, and provide us with the Vehicle Identification Number. This can help us get a better idea of what shape your car is in and learn more about the vehicle history, improving the accuracy of our quote!
Once you submit the form, it takes just 90 seconds to see what your car is worth! In a few cases, it may take us up to an hour to generate a custom quote for your unique vehicle. In that case, our associate buyers will call you to let you know what were offering. Well send the offer by email as well so you can review it.
If you like the offer you see, you can schedule your pickup time with our buyers. You can also wait a little longer and think it over before reaching out to us again. When the tow truck driver arrives, he or she will hand a check to you on the spot.
Its that easy! No hassle, no haggle, no fuss and no fees. CarBrain is the modern way to sell less-than-perfect vehicles. Why wait? Get started today.
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Can You Charge A Flat Battery
A car battery will recharge to some extent;while driving, however youll need to drive for at least 30 minutes after a jump start to allow it to recharge sufficiently for the next time you start the engine.
This drive cycle should ideally be in traffic-free conditions without lots of battery-hungry systems;on such as headlights and;heating. If you’re in a dark, cold layby and using these comforts can’t be avoided:;dont worry, it will just;take a little longer to recharge the battery.
To charge the battery fully, a dedicated battery charger should be used to bring the battery back to its peak capacity, which usually involves several hours or overnight on the charger.;
There are also products known as Battery Conditioners, which provide a small trickle charge to the battery and are especially useful where the vehicle is used infrequently, or parked up for long periods.
Watch RAC patrol Ben Aldous show you how to look after your car battery.
Reasons Why Your Car Wont Start
Its a beautiful day outside. The sun is shining and the weather is perfect. You slide into your car, ready to start your busy day, whenuh oh! your car wont start.
There are many reasons why your car wont start. Before calling for help, there are things you can check yourself. For starters, make sure the steering wheel isnt locked.
An empty gas tank is another simple reason why your car wont start. If you were low on fuel before , its possible youre just on E.
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Test These 3 Things To Get Back On The Road
It’s easy to get frustrated when you get in your car and the engine won’t turn over. Don’t worry quite yet. If you’re at home, there are three things you can test that will tell you what’s wrongand you might have an inexpensive repair on your hands. The most likely problem is a dead or drained battery. If that’s good, then your battery cables might be dirty or your starter may be going bad. Rule these things out before you spend any time troubleshooting other possibilities.
If You Turn The Key In The Ignition And The Car Won’t Start Don’t Give Up Try These Troubleshooting Tricks Before You Call In The Tow Truck
Most people dont keep a set of mechanics tools in their trunk. So when your car wont start, leaving you stranded with a dead engine, you feel pretty helpless. But dont give up right away. Weve compiled a list of tricks you can try, and none of them require tools. Theyre arranged by symptom, and youve got nothing to lose by trying them. Of course, they wont fix the root problem, but one of them just might get the engine started so you can head to the nearest mechanic to have the problem fixed.
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Your Car Is Out Of Gas
We know, we know. This might seem like a silly reason why your vehicle will crank but not start but trust us. This is a way more common reason than most car enthusiasts would like to believe. As we described earlier in the article to properly run your vehicles engine it needs fuel, a spark, and compression. Without fuel, meaning gas in your fuel tank your vehicle will crank and sputter but it will certainly not start. For a quick troubleshoot, check the fuel gauge on the dashboard of your vehicle. Once determined if the amount is too low all you need to do is get some more fuel in the car and you should be good to go!
Smoke Is Coming From Your Car
The starter is part of your cars electrical system and subject to blown fuses and short circuits. When youve been desperately attempting to start your car, the starter can overheat making electrical issuesand the accompanying smokemore likely. If you see or smell smoke, call for help rather than turning the key harder, again!
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It Might Be: A Broken Timing Belt The Connection Between The Upper Half And The Lower Half Of The Engine Is Broken The Pistons Have No Resistance And Theyre Moving Up And Down Faster Than Usual Because Some Valves Remain Open
What to do: Stop cranking immediately and call for a tow; this is a serious problem. To help prevent this problem, replace your timing belt as part of your regular maintenance.
If your car wont start, hearing a tow truck is a welcome sound. Fortunately, its easy to call one with Emergency Roadside Service, available through the GEICO Mobile App. Another nice noise? Hearing that you could be paying less for car insurance from GEICO. Get a quote now and see if you could save!
How To Fix A Bad Battery Connection
Working near a battery involves some safety steps. Begin by turning the car off and setting the parking brake. Next, put on safety goggles and work gloves. In addition, make sure nothing metal connects the battery terminals together. This action can cause sparks or even an explosion. Now, try tightening the cable connectors. If you notice any corrosion, clean the affected area with a wire brush. If problems continue or if theres damage to the cables, contact a mechanic.
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Top 5 Reasons Your Car Won’t Start
One of the worst ways to start your work day is to get in your car to head to the office and have the vehicle decide it doesn’t want to take you there. There are numerous reasons a vehicle may not start, but depending on the symptoms it can be fairly easy for a professional auto repair technician to diagnose the issue. These are some of the most common causes of automotive no-start situations.