5 Causes of a Car That’s Hard to Start When Cold

It can be a terrible feeling when you have trouble starting your engine. You might have a dozen ideas running through your head about why your engine is so difficult to start. Perhaps you worry that your engine is damaged in some way and that you’ll have to spend a whole lot of money on repairs or even a new engine.

The worst possible scenarios might run through your head whenever your engine fails to start easily. However, in most situations, an engine that is difficult to start has nothing to do with its overall health.

It likely pertains to something wrong with the oil or one of the components in the car which is not allowing the engine to start properly. You may experience this engine issue a lot when it is cold outside too. The reason for this is discussed below.

Top 5 Reasons for Hard Starting When Cold

There are many things that can cause an engine to be hard to start especially in cold weather. Below are five of the most common causes that you should investigate immediately upon experiencing this kind of problem.

You never want to take chances where your engine is concerned. If you continue to ignore the hard starting of your engine, then it will eventually get to a point where you won’t be able to start your engine at all.

By this point, it may be possible that vital components of the engine become damaged and then your worst nightmare of having to replace the engine will come true.

1) Battery

Car owners are surprised to learn that the cold temperatures outside can have a negative effect on their vehicle’s battery. There are chemical reactions which need to take place inside the battery for it to function properly.

Cold temperatures will slow down these chemical reactions, resulting in a battery that does not produce a powerful enough energy current for the starter. Once that happens, it will be difficult to start the engine.

2) Bad Solenoid

The solenoid is responsible for transmitting an electric current within the starter system. This cylindrical wire coil may become worn out as time goes on.

If this were to occur, it will be difficult for the electrical components and engine within the vehicle to start up. You will need to replace this coil if you want to fix the problem.

3) Bad Ignition Switch

The ignition switch exists within the internal combustion engine. It is responsible for starting the vehicle’s electrical components after you turn the key in the ignition.

The engine requires the ignition switch to be functional for it to start and run properly. If the ignition switch is bad or worn out, then your engine will be hard to start.

4) Malfunctioning Starter

A starter motor is what starts the engine. If you have a bad starter motor, then you will have trouble starting the engine. Like most components in a vehicle, wear and tear will eventually get the best of the starter motor.

When you turn the key in the ignition and nothing happens, then you’ll know you have a starter problem. If you see dimmed lights after turning the key, the car may start but it will be very slow to do so.

5) Thick Oil

When the temperatures get colder outside, the oil inside the engine will get thicker. If the oil becomes too thick, it will be harder for it to circulate throughout the engine and lubricate the components.

Once that happens, the engine must work harder to push around the oil. This ultimately creates problems while you’re starting the car and as you’re driving your car.

Alternatively, you could have thicker oil because you simply haven’t gotten an oil change in such a long time. Make sure you regularly get oil changes, according to the instructions of your owner’s manual. Use the proper type of oil too.

7 thoughts on “5 Causes of a Car That’s Hard to Start When Cold”

  1. Am so impressed with this enlightenment. Thanks. Pls may i know the specific engine oil for Honda civic 2002 series.

  2. We just got a 2011 Malibu LS 4 cylinder that starts hard the first time and then starts fine after that first time. We replaced the crank sensor since that was coding and also the cam sensor but it still starts hard the first time.


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