Here’s what you need to know about cold-weather engine starts and boosting

January 14th, 2020 by

With these extreme temperatures hitting us here in Alberta, our vehicles are feeling every degree of this cold.

Starting your car’s engine on a cold morning is very tricky process, requiring a lot of very specific things to happen with millisecond timing and in a very specific order. Of course, the expectation from the driver’s seat is simple: you turn the key (or push the button),  your engine starts, and you go about your day — largely oblivious to the various processes and engineering that have just given you the miracle of cold-weather ignition.

In the coldest parts of winter, many of us use a block heater to make life easier on our engines when starting in the cold. These devices add heat to the engine and the fluids circulating within it, making it more likely to turn over when it’s extremely cold. But what if you can’t plug your car in? What can you do to make sure that your engine starts — even if it’s been sitting in the airport parking complex for 10 days at 30 below?

According to the experts, you’ll want to take at least two major precautions. First, ensure that your vehicle’s battery is healthy. The technicians here at Calgary Hyundai can easily give you a battery assessment. This test will quickly give your battery a passing grade or not. If your current battery is on the way out, you’ll definitely want to replace it. Batter health is crucial in cold weather starts.

The other is to use synthetic engine oil. Because of the way it is formulates, synthetic oil is thinner in extreme cold, meaning your starter can spends less energy churning frozen molasses, and more energy getting your vehicle fired up. Switching to synthetic oil could make the difference between having to call for a boost, or not.

Book your vehicle in for an oil change before January 31, 2020 and we will upgrade your oil to synthetic for FREE! We will also do a winter checkup on your vehicle and inspect your block heater, coolant, battery and tires for no charge.

Posted in Service Tips