Overcome winter worries when your car won’t start

As winter kicks in, colder mornings make it difficult to rise and get going and the same might apply to your car. Here are a few preventative tips that could enable you to avoid calling for help, should you find yourself in the unfortunate position of not being  able to start your vehicle when the temperature drops.

So, your car won’t start? Don’t panic.

Check the basics? This seems elementary, but we all have dipsy spells.

  • If your car is an automatic, make sure it is in park. If a manual, is the clutch pressed far enough?
  • Have you got fuel?
  • Did you fasten your seat belt? Some newer models won’t start when the seat belt is undone.

Have you turned everything off? Give the car’s battery a chance.

  • Turn the heating off.
  • Keep the doors shut to disable the overhead lighting.
  • Ensure the lights, tech chargers and stereo are all off.
  • Turn off the heated seats if you have them.

Any signs of life? Check the battery.

  • If the dashboard lights are on, there is still life in the battery.
  • Is the engine turning? Don’t force it for longer than 10 seconds as this reduces the chances of starting.
  • If anything shows signs of life, such as the wipers or radio, the battery may not be completely dead and it could be a different problem.
  • If the battery won’t turn the engine over, it is discharged and you will need to jump-start or replace the battery.
  • Batteries fail due to age or wear. Have a look. If the battery appears damaged or corroded or is leaking, it needs to be changed.

Battery working? The problem may be your starter; this is a small motor that draws electrical current from the battery to start the engine.

  • Is there a clicking noise when you turn the key?
  • Is there a loose connection?
  • Try jump-starting the vehicle, worth a try but no guarantee.

Problems with your fuel pump? If your car can’t pump to fuel the engine, it won’t start. Warning signs might be:

  • Has your car jerked at speed?
  • Suffered a sudden loss of power or reduced fuel economy?

The vehicle needs mechanical attention. Also, ensure you never run low on fuel as this can age the fuel pump quickly.

If you have a problem starting your car, especially in the winter months, contact a specialist such as A1 Clutches, who supply and fit batteries for all makes and models of vehicles and will carry out a free inspection of your vehicle.