Winter weather is a challenge to vehicles as well as people. Extreme cold can drain power from the vehicle’s battery, freeze engine fluids and gas lines and thicken engine oil. Any one of these problems can make starting your vehicle difficult. The most effective and efficient way to warm up any vehicle is to drive it. Once it’s running, don’t let it idle for too long; 30 seconds is long enough to circulate the engine oil. Then take it slow for the first couple of miles until the other components are warm too.
Keep your gas tank as full as possible to help prevent the gas from freezing. The fuel’s alcohol attracts moisture, which can freeze.
Use thinner oil in your engine during the coldest months of the year to prevent it from thickening so much that it can’t lubricate sufficiently. This can slow the engine’s movements to the point that it won’t start.
Turn off all accessories, including the heat, radio and headlights.
Pump the gas pedal once before starting if your vehicle does not have a fuel-injected engine.
Turn the key and hold it for up to 20 seconds if necessary for the engine to turn over. Do not flood the engine or kill the battery. Wait a few seconds and try it again if the vehicle doesn’t start.
Ask someone with jumper cables and a running vehicle to jump-start your vehicle if the battery is dead.
Use a block heater to physically warm your vehicle before you attempt to start it. Either use a timer to turn the heater on and off, or plug in the heater two hours before you plan to start the vehicle.