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Maintenance guide - How to start the car in cold winter weather?

Snapshot: Here are some basic tips to keep in mind to keep the car warmer during winter season.

Cars, just like us humans, don't work well in winters. As the temperature drops the car becomes a hostage. The engine won't turn over, or if it starts it runs roughly. Problems like oil getting thicker or car battery having problem can be few reasons for your car not to start in cold. There are some things you can do on your own to increase your car's performance.

Park your car in garage
Car batteries can lose its power when it gets cold, which can take longer time than usual to start the engine. If you have a garage or a covered parking spot, park the car there. It will keep the car warmer than if parked in the open.  In case you don't have a closed parking space, you can also unhook the terminals of the battery and bring it inside for the night. This will help in keeping the battery warm.

Keep the fuel tank full
Always remember to keep your fuel tank topped up. Low temperature will make water condense out of the air in the fuel tank and the water gets into the fuel line. If there is more fuel in the tank, there is less air and therefore less condensation will happen.

Change to thinner oil
In winters, the engine oil thickens and does not flow quickly to important engine parts that need lubrication. Even the engine does not crank fast enough to start. Therefore it is better to opt for engine oil with a thinner grade, i.e. less viscosity.

Be kind to the starter motor
Don't keep cranking the engine if the car doesn't start. Starter motors heat very quickly and can even overheat, even if the rest of the car is still cold to start.

Diesel takes longer to start
A diesel engine takes longer than a petrol engine to start operating. Diesel engines normally have glow plugs that provide additional energy for the start cycle. Pay attention to the glow plug sign and let it go out before you start cranking the engine.

Keep all accessories off
Turn off all the accessories, heater blower, radio, lights, etc off before starting the engine. Also keep all car doors shut. This will help in maximising the starting power of the car.

Hold the key for 20 seconds
Turn the car key and try holding it for 20 seconds. This helps in getting the engine going. Do not hold it for more than 20 seconds as it can cause mechanical damage.

Let the car idle
Let the coolant and engine oil warm and circulate thoroughly. If the coolant and oil are not warm enough, there can be differential heating the engine block. You can also rev the engine gently for a while taking the engine to a higher rpm.

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