How to Start Your Car When it is Really Cold Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

How to Start Your Car When it is Really Cold

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One way to ensure that you survive extreme weather is being able to start your car. The following is a list of suggestions that will give your beloved motor that gentle kick start on a cold and frosty morning:

  • If you are at home and have two cars, get a hose, attach it to the exhaust of the working car and feed the other end under the engine of the car you want to start. This gently defrosts the car and renders starting it much easier.

  • It is most important, when starting your car in extremely cold weather not to flood the engine or kill the battery. If your car is fuel injected and made in the past 10 to 15 years or so, odds are you won't need to pump the gas at all, because there's a computer chip running the injectors which finds an optimum gas flow for starting for you. Otherwise, the cold engine will need a little more gas than usual, but not too much more. Turn the key to 'start', but if it doesn't turn over in about five seconds, turn off and wait a few seconds.

  • Once it's running, a non-fuel injected engine will need a bit of throttle to keep it going until it warms up a bit - but not too much. In the winter, oil not only settles in an engine, but the cold also makes it coagulate; it takes a minute for the oil to thin out and get pumping everywhere it needs to be, and running high RPMs with cold oil creates an unpleasant metal-on-metal environment which is really quite detrimental to an engine's health. Give it just enough to keep running; wait at least a minute or two before even putting the car in gear for the best results. Once the engine is warm, it can be run just like any other time; except when it's that cold, it's probably also fairly snowy or icy.

Battery Care

If its going to drop below -10°C overnight take your battery out of the car and store it indoors. Very cold batteries have almost no power.


Pretty much the same thing applies to bikes as it does to cars. Bike engines use the same principles as car engines. However they do tend to get hotter than car engines as their RPM is so much higher. Taking this into account, always make sure your bike is nice and toasty before revving off else you could do some serious damage to your pistons, cylinders, cam shaft, flywheel, clutch - basically the entire engine.

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