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5 tips for starting your car on a cold winter morning

Person starting a car

Most Canadians have experienced the challenge of starting a car on a cold morning in winter. Whether your vehicle takes longer than usual to turn over or doesn’t start at all, cold Canadian winters can put a lot of stress on your car. Although many people believe it’s a good idea to let your vehicle warm up before driving, this isn’t necessarily true. Here are five ways to help your vehicle start on a cold winter morning.

1. Purchase a block heater. Block heaters are commonly installed on vehicles driven in cold provinces, like Manitoba and Saskatchewan. However, they’re less common in areas with mild winters like British Columbia. Block heaters plug into a standard electrical outlet and help keep your engine and motor oil warm over cold nights, making it much easier to start in the morning.

2. Invest in a battery warmer. Battery warmers keep your car battery warm throughout the night, so it’s ready to go in the morning. The chemicals in car batteries quickly lose efficiency when they get cold. Therefore, a battery warmer can also help increase your car battery’s lifespan.

3. Turn off the accessories. Your vehicle needs a lot of power to start after sitting through a cold winter night. Consequently, it’s a good idea to turn off accessories, like the lights and radio, until after your vehicle starts. Get into the habit of turning off any accessories before you shut off your car every night.

4. Don’t let the car idle. Don’t waste time idling your car; drive it. This will warm it up much quicker and avoid unnecessarily polluting the air and wasting fuel. You should take it slow for the first few kilometres. However, the engine should be warm enough to handle regular speeds after that.

5. Use the right engine oil. Check your vehicle’s user manual to find out what kind of oil to use during the winter. 5W30 motor oil is the most common. The first number, followed by the W tells you how well the oil flows in cold weather. Therefore, look for an oil with low numbers, such as 5W-40. This means it’s suitable for frigid temperatures.

Along with these tips, make sure you schedule regular tune-ups to ensure you don’t get stuck outside on a cold winter morning with a car that won’t start.

Trusted automotive experts

At Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres, we’ve been helping our customers get their vehicles through winter for over 46 years. We offer a full range of mechanical services and can handle all your automotive needs. Contact us today for information or to make an appointment.


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Here at Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres in British Columbia, we’re always pleased to help our customers get the most out of their cars and trucks. To that end, we’ll add a relevant blog topic from time to time to keep you up to date and getting the most out of your vehicle.