View Full Version : Car wont start in cold weather
08-22-2010, 05:58 AM
Hey guys, i have a 2000 grand am 3.4, and last winter my car would never start in cold weather. i would have to plug it in every night or it would not start. what could be causing this ? the battery was fine, the engine would crank for ever but never turn over. The temperature was usually below freezing when it wouldn;t start. it started fine all summer without ever having to plug in the block heater... i dunnno
08-22-2010, 09:29 AM
try it with a full tank of gas.
also you could use 'quick start' a small spray in the air filter should work on those cold mornings. keep the can in your car
08-22-2010, 03:40 PM
Yeah it never seems to matter how full my tank of gas is. And thats a fantastic idea with the quick start, but it would be nice to also find the problem and fix it :D
Any ideas ? :(
08-25-2010, 12:44 PM
08-25-2010, 01:11 PM
I guess it is going to be hard to troubleshoot until it gets below freezing.
I remember my very first car, it was a ford, it would not start if the temp was below -10.
No matter how powerful the battery was, it would turn but not start.
I was a kid and afraid to touch anything under the hood, so I never did figure it out.
Anyway, is it a block heater that you are plugging in?
If it starts when plugged in, then maybe your antifreeze is not strong enough.
Can you test the antifreeze to see what temp it freezes at?
What kind of oil are you using?
5W30 is what is recommended for this car.
Lots of stuff to try.
Keep us posted.
08-25-2010, 07:34 PM
i'll bet your using conventional oil.
if you use a high quality synthetic it might help, it stays thinner at cooler temps.
mine needs to have to gas pedal pushed down a little.
i dont know
08-26-2010, 05:49 PM
Hey guys thanks for the help :) Ill try to check this every day i really appreciate this.
I am using conventional oil, just 5w 30 but this winter i will use synthetic :)
By battery is newish and has lots of life and will crank for ever but the engine never turns over unless i have the block heater plugged in.
As far as the antifreeze goes i suppose i could throw it in the freezer and see what happens :P or just replace it with some really good stuff
i as well am just a kid and scared to poke around under the hood, but i dont have a lot of money for a new car and i need this baby to get me to and from school half an hour away every day for the next 8 months :D
I shall keep you posted my friends :)
08-26-2010, 05:51 PM
Oh btw these are all ideas i never would have thought of which is excellent, i was convinced i had to replace the spark plugs or the starter hehe, shows how much i know ^.^
*EDIT* well i suppose the more information i give you guys the more it can help. so there were times where my car was frozen and unable to reach a plug, my dad was the master at starting it (hehe) and after a tonne of cranking and tapping the gas pedal he could get it going, he said the trick was to play with the pedal but i could never get it. this did not always work but definitely seemed to help
ALSO i have heard rumours that once you start plugging your car in when it is cold that you are kind of screwed, is this true ? or can i get it back to how it was, starting in the cold no prob ;)
08-26-2010, 06:39 PM
If your oil is 5W30 it should be ok for the winter, that's what I have and mine starts every time.
You can use a hydrometer (http://www.allproducts.com/tool/three-in-one/18-anti_freeze_tester-l.jpg) that is available anywhere to test your coolant.
Remember that our cars use the red Dex-cool, not the green stuff that you are used to seeing.
You can't mix the two.
I also noticed that you are in Ottawa.
I'm in Ottawa (well Aylmer actually) and I have a hydrometer, if you want to come by I can test it for you.
Of course we will have to let it cool before we can test it.
08-26-2010, 07:07 PM
Oh wow cool ! my grandma lives there, do you know where carleton place is just west of ottawa? thats where i am living right now.
That would be great! maybe sometime next week ? im taking a week off before school so any time that you are not busy would be good for me im sure.
Just curious how the coolant would affect it starting in cold weather (I am not very good with engines hehe)
08-26-2010, 08:27 PM
Let's toss around ideas here...
You said that it always starts if you have the block heater plugged in all night.
The block heater heats the coolant.
This in turn probably brings the oil temp up slightly I'm guessing.
Stretching it a bit here but could a slightly warmer engine make the fuel atomize better making it start easier ?!? Anyone ???
I'm just grasping here, but it won't hurt to test the fluids just to see.
BTW, I know Carleton Place, I can PM you and we can meet next week at the Tim Horton's.
08-27-2010, 06:21 AM
Cool sounds good. any day except wednesday i believe. i should get out to aylmer and visit my granny anyways :P
so like i said earlier im not very knowledgable about engines, what exactly would we be testing with the hydrometer??
12-05-2010, 10:33 PM
Hey guys I have the same problem and now that is cold again I guess it is time to try to figure it out. It was around 30F last night and it took some xtra cranking to get it going.....floor it, let off, floor it, let off and you can feel it wanting to start. When it is really cold out you go through this sequence for 25+ times with 10 second cranks and it is popping and sneezing through the airbox (whobbbobooob). When it starts to fire you hold the key to start to keep it running (lol, starter engaged keeps it running.....barley) with the gas to the floor until it gradually cleans up and runs fine until the next over nighter. Is this a fuel line issue?? It sure acts like it is not getting any fuel or just a really small amount intermittently until it cleans up. I have a Bonneville SSEI and a Camaro that have no trouble popping off on the first turn of the starter when it is 10 F outside....so what gives with the 3.4???
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