Why Cars Stop Working When It Is Cold Outside

cold-carAs temperatures drop outside, our vehicles can start to get cranky.  If you have experienced a car that will not start because temperatures are below freezing, you may have wondered why that happens.  To get a better idea of how to prevent these types of issues and how they occur, keep reading.

Why idling is less necessary today

Despite the tradition of starting a car and letting it idle for several minutes before you start driving in the cold, a lot has changed about cars in the past 10 years. In the past, a car relied on a carburetor to rev up the engine.  In order to get it working, it needed to be warmed up. Once the carburetor was warmed up, it had the opportunity to get the right mix of fuel and air into the engine.  Doing this prevented stalling in cold temperatures.

When your car does not start in cold temperatures, it is less likely to be an issue associated with the carburetor.  Starting in the 1980s, car makers started to favor the fuel injector instead of the carburetor.  In modern times, the fuel injector uses a sensor to get the air and fuel mix right that supplies the engine.

Tips for preventing cold weather car problems

Most of the mysteries behind a car that is having cold weather issues centers on the battery.  Cold weather is notorious for draining the life out of a battery, but, thankfully, it is often easy to fix with a set of jumper cables.  If battery issues are a repeated problem for you, you can have a mechanic install an engine block heater and a battery wrap.

Other tips to make it easy for your car to start in cold weather is parking your car in a heated garage, using thinner oil, and using antifreeze in your gas line.  It is also much harder to start a car in cold weather when there is very little gas in the tank.  Keeping your fuel tank full also keeps extra condensation from forming inside the tank.

Prepare your car for the cold with us

If you regularly travel to colder areas, getting as many preventative services for your car is imperative.  Instead of calling a tow truck to bail you out each time you visit a client in the mountains, bring your vehicle to Leavitt’s Auto Care before you hit the road.  We have the experience and dependable services you need for all of your car repairs.  To get started, contact us or visit us at our shop.