Winter here on the Prairies is no joke– the cold, wind, snow and ice could freeze any vehicle in its tracks. If you park outdoors during the winter, it is important to know the proper way to treat your vehicle so it operates smoothly throughout the colder months. Keep reading for Park Muffler’s guide to starting your vehicle in the cold.
The first step is understanding why your vehicle might have trouble starting. First of all, the chemicals in batteries can become much less reactive in cold conditions, limiting its electrical output– but your vehicle needs a reliable flow of electricity to start! Oil and gasoline also move slower in the cold, which puts even more pressure on the electrical system to get your engine moving. Other systems such as fuel lines can also experience serious issues if it gets cold enough.
The following preventive measures may seem obvious, but they may make a major difference when the temperature drops. The only foolproof way is to park in a heated garage, but short of that luxury an unheated garage, carport, overhang or even a big tree can help shelter your vehicle. Another successful strategy is to find a plugin and make use of a battery or block heater designed to keep your engine safe from the elements. Seasonal tune-ups at Park Muffler is another effective way to stay on top of your vehicle’s condition, no matter the weather.
Tips & Tricks
If you are stuck in a jam and need the magic words to make your vehicle’s engine spring to life– well, sorry to say we don’t know them… But we do know some tips and tricks that can be effective when starting a vehicle in cold weather:
Switch off anything that uses power– headlights, heaters and defrosters all take valuable electricity from your vehicle’s ignition system;
“Cranking” your engine by turning and holding your key can help, but only for 5-10 seconds at a time– any more can damage a vehicle;
Allow a minute or two between attempts– your battery needs time to recharge for an effective start;
Always keep jumper cables in your vehicle– tow trucks, friends and Good Samaritans might forget!
Worse has come to worse and you have to get a “boost.” This requires a running vehicle and a pair of jumper cables. Inspect the battery placement on each vehicle and safely position them as close as possible. Connect the positive (+) cable to the positive terminal on the good battery and then the positive terminal on the dead battery, followed by the negative (-) connections. Start the functioning vehicle, run it for a minute or two at a level RPM then try starting the vehicle with dead battery. Always double-check connections, follow safety guidelines and wear protective equipment.As any Albertan knows, our winters can be as vicious as they can be magical. Don’t let