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Starting a Car in Cold Weather

Starting a car in cold weather can be a big problem for people who live up north and really cold places such as Alaska. This post will go over why it is hard to start a car in cold weather.

The first reason is that Gasoline evaporates less when it is cold. For instance, if you pour water on a hot sidewalk, it will evaporate a lot faster if you were to pour it on a cooler place like a shade covered sidewalk. When it is really cold, gasoline evaporates slowly making it harder to burn. Gasoline needs to be vaporized to burn. You may at times see people spray ether into their engines during the winter to help them start their car.

Another reason is that oil is much thicker in cold weather. Oil does the same as something like honey or syrup you put in the refrigerator. When you try to start a cold engine, it has to push around the thick oil, which makes it harder for the engine to spin. In really cold areas, people must use synthetic motor oils because they stay liquid in cold temperatures.

Lastly, batteries have problems in cold weather as well. A battery is a container full of chemicals that produce electrons. When it’s cold, these chemical reactions take place slowly. The starter motor then has less energy to work with when it tries to start the engine, causing the engine to crank slowly.

These problems can make it impossible to start an engine in very cold weather. Some people keep their cars in heated garages or us block heaters to maneuver these issues. A block heater is a small electric heater you plug into the wall to keep the engine warm.

Caring for your car in winter

To prevent troubles in the winter, expects say to take you car in for servicing before the severe weather hits, as this can be one of the best preventative measures. If you run into something like a frozen fuel line, driving will generally flush the gas through the engine, though if you gas lines freeze, that means condensation has built up in the tank.

To prevent this problem, keep your tank full, or at least half full at all times during the cold weather.

If you engine is not turning over smooth on a cold morning, your battery is most likely failing. It’s best to keep electronics unplugged in your car to help preserve battery life. According to AAA, good batteries can lose 35% of its efficiency at zero degrees.

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