Starting the engine in the cold: tips for motorists

Winter is a real challenge for motorists. After all, it is much more difficult to start a cold engine at a negative temperature than in summer. In such conditions, the viscosity of the oil changes, and if we talk about diesel cars, then the viscosity of the fuel. Starter needs more energy to run the engine over the flywheel. Therefore, the load on the battery increases. Often inexperienced motorists simply put down the battery in an attempt to successfully start the engine. As a result, such a machine cannot be started at all. But how to prepare for the engine start in the cold? We will talk about this in our today's article.

Battery voltage

If the car has been standing outside for a long time or the air temperature has dropped below -20 degrees, it’s worth checking the battery voltage before starting the diesel engine in cold weather. In the cold, the electrolyte density of the battery can fall. Reduced battery capacity itself.As a result, it is very difficult to start the engine in cold weather. After turning the ignition key, the starter will lazily rotate the flywheel. And on the second or third attempt, he will refuse to work at all.

how to start the engine in the cold

In order not to set the battery to zero, before starting it is worth checking its voltage. For a successful start, this parameter must be at least 13 volts. If the figure is less, it is worth to charge the battery.

How to increase the density of the battery

An important characteristic in any battery is the density of the electrolyte. If it is lower than 1.27 grams per cubic centimeter, such a battery will be useless in winter. The car does not start in the cold - what to do? To return the battery to life, it is necessary to replenish the electrolyte level. It is poured through special holes on the lid (there are only six). After that make charging with a minimum amperage for three hours. Then re-measure the hydrometer. If the figure is 1.27-1.28 grams, such a battery will start the engine in cold weather.


An important characteristic that determines the ease of winter start is oil viscosity. If the annual mileage of the car is more than 20 thousand, experts recommend changing it according to the season. There are several types of motor oil:

  • Summer
  • Winter
  • All-season.

All of them are marked with a two-digit SAE viscosity value. It is believed that the best oil is what the manufacturer recommends using. But winters are different, so sometimes you can deviate from the recommendations of the manufacturer. Winter oils are marked with the letter W.

warming up the engine in frost

If the average air temperature in this season is from 10 to 25 degrees below zero, you should focus on products with viscosities from 0W to 10W. You can choose both synthetics and semi-synthetics. Oils with such viscosity will provide easier start of the engine in a frost. If the winter is warmer, you can use products with a viscosity of 15W. But remember that the lower this figure, the lower the density of the oil. Accordingly, on older engines, it can simply go through worn glands, gaskets, or into the combustion chamber through the rings. Therefore, it is not necessary to significantly reduce this figure.


This parameter should be especially followed by owners of old used cars. On gasoline engines, the compression ratio should be at least ten atmospheres. On diesel - from twenty and above. If the compression is lower, the engine will be difficult to start.And if in the summer it starts with the third or fourth attempt, in the winter the battery can not have enough strength for such a long start. Measurement is performed using a compressometer. It is installed in place of the twisted spark plugs. After installation, you need to scroll the starter 2-3 times crankshaft. And so for each cylinder. Performance should not differ by more than one atmosphere. If the compression is weak, such a motor needs repair. Otherwise, in the cold the car will not start.

Starting a diesel engine cars in the cold

But it often happens that the motor does not start with a working battery and with normal compression. In winter, the driver has no margin for error. Therefore, you need to know how to start the engine in the cold on the first attempt. We will tell about it below.

Tips for car owners

How to start the engine in the cold correctly? If you have a gasoline car, you should not immediately start the engine after turning on the ignition. It is necessary to wait until the electric pump pumps fuel into the ramp. This will take no more than three seconds. But these seconds can save when you start the car in the cold. So, turn on the ignition and wait until the pump pumps the liquid. This can be determined by sound.During operation, the pump will emit a characteristic hum in the rear of the car. When it is silent, you can start.

start of the diesel engine in a frost

An unnecessary operation would be to warm the battery. This can be done without removing it from the car. It is necessary that the load goes to the battery - this will help activate the electrolyte inside. To do this, turn on the high beam for ten seconds. However, remember that all electrical appliances must be turned off at startup. The slightest load on the battery will significantly aggravate the operation of the starter. If the car is equipped with a manual transmission, it is recommended to squeeze the clutch pedal at startup.

frozen car

What will it give us? The oil in the manual transmission is very thick (viscosity 75w90), therefore during rotation of the flywheel, the starter will also partially work on the rotation of the gearbox parts. To reduce the load on the battery, which will give us the starting current, squeeze the clutch pedal to the floor. This will reduce the risk of an unsuccessful start of the engine.

It so happens that when a cold start on a gasoline engine fills candles. As a result, it is very difficult to start the engine. Of course, a better solution is to dry them in a dismantled state. But you can dry the candles without twisting them.How? To do this, while rotating the starter, you need to press all the way on the gas pedal. This operation will increase the purge of the combustion chamber from excess fuel and allow the engine to start successfully.

But these tips only apply to gasoline engines. But what about the owners of "solid fuel" cars? For them, we have selected some useful tips.

The engine did not start up in a frost diesel. What to do

On such engines there is one significant problem. Diesel thickens at a temperature of -5 and below. In view of this, the purchase of antigel will be a useful acquisition.

the engine did not start in the cold

This is a special additive that dilutes diesel fuel. It is added to the tank in small proportions. In winter, the fuel thickens, turning into paraffin. Because of this, the fuel cannot penetrate the fine pores of the filter. But there are situations when the fuel thickens in the pump itself. In this case, you must gently pour boiling water over its body. Try not to fill the alternator and starter. And continue to try to buy winter fuel at the gas station or use an additive in the tank in advance.

Do I need to warm up the engine

This question is a lot of controversy among motorists.And if in the summer you can still refrain from warming up, in the winter this operation is mandatory. Warming up the engine in cold weather will allow to prepare all systems and mechanisms (take at least the same oil that thickens with a drop in temperature) for operation. But it must be done correctly. It is not necessary to include immediately cabin heater. So you spend a lot of time warming up. But the inclusion of lighting and other "electrics" would be superfluous. This will increase the load on the generator, and accordingly, on the crankshaft. So the motor warms up to operating temperature faster, and the battery is fully charged.

engine start in the cold

Do I need to warm up the engine for a long time? Experienced motorists do not advise “oiling” the engine for 15-20 minutes or more. This is bad for the engine. Enough five minutes of work at idle, so that the engine warms up to a minimum of +60 degrees. After that, you can confidently carry out the movement. If the machine is equipped with an automatic transmission, during this period (while the engine is working at idle), all modes should be alternately switched. So we will warm up the ATP-liquid in the box and save its life.


So, we figured out what to do if the car does not start in the frost, as well as how to prepare it for cold start and movement. Proper battery and liquid oil are the main conditions for easy and successful start of the engine.

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