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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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.

shanefos shanefos 11:10 am 06 Jul 09

You could catch a bus…..

sepi sepi 11:08 am 06 Jul 09

A thick blanket over the bonnet (and front windscreen) used to be the tip for crummy old datsons. Our ancient mazda seems to have no trouble – but maybe it isn’t as old as I thought – even it doesn’t have a choke – in fact I’d forgotten about those.

If you have a morris 1100 – garage it and pray, and memorise the NRMA number.

AngryHenry AngryHenry 10:40 am 06 Jul 09

Call in sick.

Or, dog sled.

paperboy paperboy 10:29 am 06 Jul 09

…and if you’re new to Canberra, check and double check that your coolant is an anti-freeze anti-boil coolant, not some cheap alternative.

I can’t believe the crappy stuff is actually sold in Canberra.

Danman Danman 10:28 am 06 Jul 09

skid, you could get a genuine zippo one locally for 60 or so bucks, but for the win, i went to eBay and got 2 non genuine items, delivered for $26 australian…

Use metho in them if you want to save money (As I have) -tad bit more fumey – but it smells similar to woodglue, so not offensive.

Hells_Bells74 Hells_Bells74 10:15 am 06 Jul 09

Oh and one-speed wipers… fun lol.

Hells_Bells74 Hells_Bells74 10:14 am 06 Jul 09

My first car (my mum’s border gave to me with a blown head gasket to practice mechanics I was learning at the time) which I gave to my boyfriend (ex hubby) to have his dad and friend fix up when he got his licence because I’d bought another car.

It was a 1970 Escort and it couldn’t take winter here some years (choke if there, was shit) and my other half decided to take a tip from someone about putting a blanket over the motor overnight. Worked a dream, until – yep he left it on there one morning and drove from Evatt to Woden blissfully unaware.

Thankfully, there is nothing to a mark 1 Escort motor, so nothing got tangled or ripped or worse.

Pretty sure my first daughter was born that year and it had to go anyhow, no seat belts (rear) and lovely fumes in the back. (not to mention no radio, no high beams (crap low beam, couldn’t see in country towns etc), no reverse lights, no heater or fan, no comfort, no guts up a hill, went backwards down Black Mountain trying to get up!)

Never had a drama with any other car directly attributed to cold weather here.

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 10:10 am 06 Jul 09

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

DarkLadyWolfMother DarkLadyWolfMother 10:06 am 06 Jul 09

If it won’t turn over, and you suspect the cold battery is at fault, turn the lights on. It’s somewhat counterintuitive but the current the lights draw may warm the battery up enough that it can now turn the engine over. It’s worked once for me, when I had a 1966 car. Never had a problem with the newer cars.

caf caf 10:03 am 06 Jul 09

Clean spark plugs with the correct gaps, with not-too-old good quality leads will make a considerable difference. On some cars (N13 Pulsar I’m looking at you) one of the leads run so close to the exhaust manifold that it gets fried by the heat pretty quickly.

If you have points ignition, make sure they’re up to scratch (and the distributor cap as well).

Clown Killer Clown Killer 10:01 am 06 Jul 09

I don’t think you can beat VYs advice. Poor or non starting has as much to to with vehicle condition and maintenance as it has to do with the cold. If you look after your car it shouldn’t be a problem.

For mine:

* newer the better (but well maintained older is just as good);
* keep servicing and maintenance up to date;
* garaging helps (a lot);
* start you car 10 minutes before it’s time to go and it will to nice and warm and frost free.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 9:49 am 06 Jul 09

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.

Thumper Thumper 9:48 am 06 Jul 09

Turn the ignition?

Yep. never ever had a problem. Even with cranky old 186 donks in old HG Kingswoods.

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 9:48 am 06 Jul 09

Cor…Where’d you score the handwarmers?

trevar trevar 9:47 am 06 Jul 09

Turn the ignition?

Even our cranky old Mazda turns over with a little encouragement at that temperature. Has to be -10 before I worry…

In North America, you can buy radiator heaters. You put them in when you stop (before the engine cools down), and they hold the water temperature just above freezing point. Maybe you could get one on Ebay?

peterh peterh 9:46 am 06 Jul 09

well, the car started first time this morning. Then i thought about the amount of time it would take to get the windscreen defrosted. At least i had my Water Saver Ice scraper, which arrived on Friday… Apparently, it was due in 2-3 weeks. The reason my old magna starts first go in the morning is that it has the coolant refreshed prior to summer and winter, and has plenty of oil and petrol. I also park it at an angle to catch the sun first thing, so the car was already de-icing.

Danman Danman 9:46 am 06 Jul 09

Make sure your battery is in top condition…Nothing drains battery power like -x degrees cold..

Speaking from experience when the battery in my camera dies at -5 after about 3 minutes… Sure its a bit smaller – but the principal remains the same.

In Alaska, they keep heaters in their garages, my Ice Road Trucking (viewing) experience also tells me that they keep self warming jackets on the engines when not in use..Maybe someone can invent a Canberra version.

On a side, to keep your hands warm, I invested in these liquid fuelled hand warmers that kick serious butt… You put 20ml of zippo fluid in them and then spark them up..They operate for about 20 hours using a platinum catalyst and slow burn so no smoke/very low odour and roasty toasty at around 50-70 degrees.

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