Q: Cold Starting Problems

asked by on December 13, 2016

From what I remember, the gas was lower than a quarter tank when I last drove it. I didn't drive it for one whole day. The weather has also been very cold and snowing the past couple of days. I've tried starting it multiple times since then. Just a few minutes ago, I put a bottle of HEET in the car and put the equivalence of about 3 gallons of gas from plastic jugs into the tank. I tried starting it immediately after that, and it still didn't start. My best guess right now is that the fuel line is frozen, but I don't know for sure or what to do.

My car has 70000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

As a general rule, car engines do not like cold weather and do not do operate as well in cold weather. When you start your car in the morning and turn the key to on, the coolant temperature sensor immediately reads the temperature of the coolant and relays this to the computer indicating that the coolant is cold. The computer then knows at this point that it needs to enrich (add more fuel) the air/fuel mixture at startup due to the change in air density. When you start the car, you will notice that it idles high for a period of time until the engine warms up. This is the enrichment cold start process. This is done with what is called a cold start injector which injects more fuel into the motor until the engine reaches a specific operating temperature. The computer simply feeds a little extra gas through the fuel injectors to start the engine and then maintains a certain amount of fuel supply to the motor until it is warm. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to take a look at your vehicle and diagnose your cold start issue.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Antifreeze coming out at the base of the oil dipstick tube

That would be unusual so be sure that the antifreeze is not leaking elsewhere and then flowing to that spot. If it is coming out at that point, pull the dipstick to confirm that there is antifreeze in the crankcase....

My coolant reservoir is empty and coolant is splattered over my engine

Driving a car with "zero" coolant will destroy the engine within minutes. Even after a coolant leak, though, you have some coolant in the engine and water can sometimes be added to enable one to drive a "short" distance as...

Battery or alternator problems?

Hello, thanks for writing in. If the car runs fine once it is started, then the alternator should be fine. I would replace the battery because it is not holding a charge. Once it is replaced I would check the...

Related articles

Can a Bad Sensor Prevent a Car From Starting?
If your car isn't starting or has a hard time starting, a faulty sensor may be to blame. Car sensors monitor data to keep your car running smoothly.
Understanding the Volkswagen Oil Monitoring System and Lights
Car symbols, or dashboard lights, are a car service reminder. The Volkswagen oil monitoring system indicates when and what service your car needs.
The Importance of Warming Your Car Before Driving
Scandphoto / Shutterstock.com Many people feel that it’s important to warm a vehicle up before driving off. This has long been the dominant school of thought, dating from when cars had carburetors and many would not run...