OwnershipHere's what to do if your car won't start in cold weather
When To Say No To Riding
Six clues to judge when it’s best to not ride America is a big, sprawling place, vast enough that no one can cover all of it in a lifetime. It is easy to be thirsty, to want to ride every inch from the blue stone shores of Maine to the wide expanses of Nevada. But sometimes it’s best to leave those miles unridden. Everyone has different thresholds for when it’s too hot, too cold, or too wet to ride. The same goes for state of mind, your health, and your level of conditioning. When do these variables form enough of a distraction to merit leaving the bike in the garage? When does exposure to riding conditions make the risk greater than the reward? Here’s where we might draw the line. Nasty Weather Riding in rain is no big deal if you slow down and are adequately prepared. A forecast of torrential downpours or gale-force winds, however, should have you rethinking your ride or reaching for the car keys. Extreme Heat Temperatures reaching triple digits can lead to hyperthermia, especially if your skin is exposed to the sun and hot wind. Vented gear and a hydration pack can help, but there’s no shame in bagging a ride until the evening when temps have become more manageable. Chill Factor Riding in 50 degrees Fahrenheit doesn’t sound too bad, but there’s a reason cold comes at you so hard on a bike: windchill. Add 65 mph of hair-waving breeze through your gear and exposed parts of you will feel like they’re riding through 39-degree weather.
If you woke up Wednesday morning and your car wouldn't start, you are not alone.
As record-smashing cold enveloped much of the country, many drivers found themselves with dead batteries.
When it gets this cold outside, many things can go wrong with your car, but a big one is the battery, said Tires Tires Tires service adviser Rod Sammons. If your battery is on the older side, this can be a big problem.
How Do You Know When It's Too Cold To Ride?
Dodge Rider explains the different stages of getting cold and what to do about it. There are some hardcore riders out there who will continue to ride year round, regardless of temperature, even in cold climates. We don't recommend it, but those who do it anyway need to be extra careful of the dangers that cold weather riding can bring. YouTuber Dodge Rider breaks it down for us. As the winter solstice approaches, many of us in northern climates have already put our bikes away for the season. Occasionally, though, an unusually warm day will come along, tempting us to haul the bike out one more time.
"If you have a weak battery at all, the car just won't start," said AAA South Dakota spokeswoman Marilyn Buskohl. She recommends getting a new battery every three years.
If you didn't think ahead and are waking up to a car that won't start, here are some things you can do:
Jump it. Sammons says getting a jump from a friend or tow truck will often do the trick.
"If the battery's got any life left in it at all, you can jump it," he said.
Your car's manual will include instructions on how to do this. Read them beforehand, because jumping a car incorrectly can cause your battery to explode!
Warming Up Your Car in the Cold Just Harms the Engine
The long-held notion that you should let your car idle in the cold is only true for carbureted engines. In the thick of winter, the common wisdom is that when you are gearing up to take your truck out in the cold and snow, you should step outside, start up your engine, and let it idle to warm up. But contrary to popular belief, this does not prolong the life of your engine; in fact, it decreases it by stripping oil away from the engine's cylinders and pistons. In a nutshell, an internal combustion engine works by using pistons to compress a mixture of air and vaporized fuel within a cylinder.
Also, let your car run for at least 20 minutes after it's been jump-started to let the battery recharge or you could face the whole problem again when you try to restart it.
And a note about next time: It's always a good idea to have jumper cables in the back of your car.
Bring it to an auto shop. Bringing your car into an auto shop is best for determining what exactly the problem is, Sammon said, but it can also have a positive side effect.
"Sometimes all it takes is getting it into the shop and letting it warm up for a few hours and off it goes," he said.
Hold the key in the ignition for 10 seconds. In cold weather, engine oil thickens and doesn't flow as well. Moisture in the fuel lines can also freeze and cause a blockage, causing the engine to not start, Buskohl said.
How Severe Cold Affects Your Car (and What to Do about It)
We talked with a repairman from Alaska to find out how the cold can affect cars and hear about any possible solutions. Problem: Deflated tires As the air in your tires gets colder, it contracts and has less pressure. Tires correspondingly become underinflated. Solution: Check your tire pressure more often than you normally would. The Car Care Council recommends doing so once a week. You might think a little deflation provides better traction, but tire experts caution against running tires below manufacturers’ recommended pressure, as that can cause uneven or unsafe tread wear.
"To start a car in freezing cold winter weather, start by shutting off any accessories, like the heater, radio and lights," she said. Then, put the keys in the ignition, turn and hold the key for up to 10 seconds. If this doesn't work, wait a minute or so before repeating the process.
Take a Lyft to work and plan better for next time. Most people to wait until it's too late to start thinking about whether their battery is in good shape, Sammon said. While it may not help now, it may help you avoid a similar situation the next time the temperature dips.
Avoiding problems in the future: Parking in a garage, whether heated or not, will keep your car warmer than parking it outside. Even a carport keeps a car several degrees warmer than one parked outside with no protection.
Electric engine warming blankets can be easily fitted atop your engine or on the inside of your car hood to keep your engine warm overnight, according to Lifewire.com.
“Not everybody lives in California”: Tesla Model 3 owners are griping about frozen door handles
The electric car isn’t without flaws, especially when a polar vortex comes along. This winter, Model 3 owners have taken to social media to gripe about the vehicle’s retractable door handles getting stuck in icy conditions. Normally, the handles open automatically when you approach the car, or when you push on them. But when they’re partially covered in ice, they can become stuck. So maybe the Model 3 isn't the best winter car. pic.twitter.com/e7laP1aADu — Andrea Falcone (@asfalcone) January 30, 2019 So many oversights by @Tesla in the design of the Model 3 in regards to cold weather.
Other heaters include block heaters that bolt electrical elements to the exterior of the engine, oil heaters that take the place of a dipstick and coolant heaters to keep the antifreeze from, well, freezing.
Contributing: The Des Moines Register
Follow Katie Nelson on Twitter: @katienjourno
This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Here's what to do if your car won't start in cold weather
Ask RideApart: How Early Can I Take My Bike Out In The Spring?.
It's all about your skills and comfort level. It’s that time of year again. All of us who live in climates where winter is a rotten snowy, icy thing are currently chomping at the bit to get out and ride again (if we haven’t already). But when is your official start of the riding season? Stay Warm!How Do You Know When It's Too Cold To Ride?Heated Gear: 'Cause We're Not All Built For The Cold Some localities have laws about when motorcycles can and cannot be on the road.
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