Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Cold Starting Problems

asked by on

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?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

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

Q: Seized lock cylinder

Hi there, thanks for writing in. First off, you don't need to go to a VW shop or the dealership to have an ignition lock cylinder replaced. As a matter of fact, one of our professional mechanics can complete this...

Q: When the car goes into gear it kinda bucks.

Hi there. With having 135,000 miles on the vehicle, your transmission has too much slipping of the clutches inside the transmission. The symptoms that you are having are the clutches slipping to a lock which jerks the vehicle around and...

Q: Car not cranking

Hi there. This vehicle not starting is an indication that the fuel filter and fuel pump are going bad. Over time, the fuel pump will fail and not put out enough fuel pressure to start the car. I would have...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...