Still sub-zero at 9am? Tips for getting cars started?

johnboy 6 July 2009 37

The Bureau informs us that it’s still below zero out there even at 9 in the morning.

The next two mornings are also forecast to get down to -3.

So for those struggling to get their cars going in these conditions have you got any tips?


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37 Responses to Still sub-zero at 9am? Tips for getting cars started?
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vg vg 11:00 pm 10 Jul 09

1974 VW Beetle. Turn the ignition. Starts 1st every time, no matter the weather. If your car struggles in this ‘weather’ it is a piece of shit and should be sold immediately

bellaa bellaa 8:38 pm 10 Jul 09

Holden Caulfield said :

I just turn the key and make sure the seat warmers are set to position 3 on the leather seats. 🙂

hahaha…. there are some mornings I have been wishing for a steering wheel warmer…. mmmm

Clown Killer Clown Killer 9:14 am 07 Jul 09

HC it’s a 2009 modle with a Tdi engine. Advice from the manufacturer is that having it idle long enough to defrost the windows and warm up the interior is by no means excessive and will do it no harm whatsoever.

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 9:05 am 07 Jul 09

Clown Killer I assume your car has a catalytic converter, in which case I had always been of the understanding that excessive idling is not good. Not sure what your user manual states, but the ones in our garage state that long periods of idling are not recommended in order to protect the longevity of the catalytic converter.

Sounds like your car may different, though. As always RTFM wins the day.

Clown Killer Clown Killer 8:41 am 07 Jul 09

start you car 10 minutes before it’s time to go and it will to nice and warm and frost free.

Don’t do this.

Thanks for that YapYapYap, but I believe that I’ll trust the advice provided in my owners manual. Perhaps on older cars it might be an issue.

Wraith Wraith 8:36 am 07 Jul 09

Definitely Motor, no way would I ride a push bike in this weather, too cold…………

nota nota 6:25 am 07 Jul 09

Clown Killer said :

* start you car 10 minutes before it’s time to go and it will to nice and warm and frost free.

YapYapYap said :

Don’t do this. Oil thickens considerably at very low temperatures and at idle speed your oil pump may struggle to move the oil to the upper parts of the motor, leading to excessive valve train wear.

How long does an oil pump take to deliver at-idle oil pressure to the valvetrain of engines in good condition?

From a cold-start it’s still only a handful of seconds. Which makes your ‘valvetrain wear’ advice irrelevant as to whether drivers subsequently choose to cold-idle a motor up to temperature, or not. Because this initial wear will ensue in either circumstance – whether idled-up for 10 minutes, or driven off 10 seconds after a cold-start.

Indeed, if freezing temperatures do lead to insufficient oil pressure on cold-startup, the absolute worst thing you could to impose on an oil-starved motor is to rev it up and put it under load, aka immediate drive-off.

Up to 80% to 90% of engine wear is incurred during cold-starts. An unsuitable grade of motor oil for temperature conditions will afflict cold-start oil pressure. The popular 20W-50 multigrade is rated suitable for ambient temperatures down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 6.6 degrees Celcius.

YapYapYap YapYapYap 11:35 pm 06 Jul 09

Clown Killer said :

* start you car 10 minutes before it’s time to go and it will to nice and warm and frost free.

Don’t do this. Oil thickens considerably at very low temperatures and at idle speed your oil pump may struggle to move the oil to the upper parts of the motor, leading to excessive valve train wear. Carburetor equipped vehicles (most ‘basic’ cars pre-1989)also risk seeing a build-up of carbon in the combustion chamber (including spark plugs) leading to poor performance and economy, if allowed to idle for lengthy periods with the choke/s restricted.

A useful tip for older vehicles is to turn the key to the ingition stop (where all the dash lights are illuminated) and give it about 30-45 seconds before engaging the starter motor. This allow the ignition coil to warm up, and improves the initial spark. Be careful not to do this for more than a minute though, as an overheated coil can also cause starting problems.

G-Fresh G-Fresh 11:07 pm 06 Jul 09

Holden Caulfield said :

I just turn the key and make sure the seat warmers are set to position 3 on the leather seats. 🙂

What a winner

Spideydog Spideydog 10:20 pm 06 Jul 09

SpellingAndGrammar said :

Push or motor?

If that was referred to me, definitely motor.

Thumper Thumper 10:04 pm 06 Jul 09

My bike goes into hibernation over winter 😉

SpellingAndGrammar SpellingAndGrammar 10:03 pm 06 Jul 09

Push or motor?

Spideydog Spideydog 10:00 pm 06 Jul 09

Wraith said :

Bike starts first time, no arguments, bit cold on the finger tips though down the highway, but what the hell, its worth it.

Same, although it is housed under an enclosed carport, under a cover and has a smart charger that plugs in as well 😉 Nice warm bike apparel means toasty warm while riding too.

Wraith Wraith 9:48 pm 06 Jul 09

Bike starts first time, no arguments, bit cold on the finger tips though down the highway, but what the hell, its worth it.

SpellingAndGrammar SpellingAndGrammar 9:30 pm 06 Jul 09

I have neighbours that persist in starting their cars and then leaving them to run for a good 20 minutes or so before leaving – even on warmer days – surely this isn’t necessary for newer model cars? Dirty polluters.

ant ant 9:29 pm 06 Jul 09

Danman said :

In Alaska, they keep heaters in their garages,

Not just Alaska. Lots of americans and canadians had little thin power cords with a weird attachment, for plugging their engines in overnight…. in the garage.

My car lives outside, it’s never had a shed. This morning was pretty dire though, getting the frozen-on frost off the windscreen, so tonight I’ve stuck some opened-out cardboard boxes on the windscreen.

Fisho Fisho 7:25 pm 06 Jul 09

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

Hilarious. Make sure you service your car at the correct intervals, and just get in and turn the key…

For older vehicles, use the choke.

Yup. Got it in one.

Also remember not to put your handbrake on (leave in park, or in gear) as handbrake cables can shrink and snap in the cold. Though you need proper cold, not this imitation Canberra cold.

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 6:59 pm 06 Jul 09

sepi said :

A thick blanket over the bonnet ….

+1. Although, I see some of our younger Canberran’s persist in thinking you can warm up an engine simply by pouring petrol over it and setting it alight. At least that’s the impression I get by the amount of burned out car-bodies I see on the way to work each morning.

DanRayner DanRayner 6:53 pm 06 Jul 09

If you’re starting your car at 9am then you’re getting to work too late! 🙂

Seriously though, a tip for avoiding frost on the windscreen is to park under a tree – they act as a bit of shield – I wonder if this may also help with getting the car started?

Clown Killer Clown Killer 11:45 am 06 Jul 09

…make sure the seat warmers are set to position 3…

I had always wondered who the hell would need heated seats. They came as standard on my wifes new car and now I am so jealous! On mornings like this they are fantastic.

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