What Should You Do if Your Car Does Not Start in the Winter?

Windshield and Wipers Covered with Snow

Cold Weather Vehicle Starting

Winter is upon us and now is the time for you to start getting ready for the cold temperatures that are undoubtedly on the way. Cold weather poses many risks and challenges when driving, and if you’re prepared for it, you’ll know what to do if something happens to you. One of the most common things that can happen to a vehicle when the temperature drops is it will have a difficult time starting up after sitting outside in the cold for an extended period of time. What should you do if your car does not start in the winter after being outside in the cold? Keep reading to find out so you’ll be prepared when it happens to you.

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How to Jump-Start a Dead Battery in the Winter

Cold weather is very tough on a vehicle’s battery, and if it can’t muster enough juice to start your engine in the cold, you’ll be left stranded with a dead battery. When this happens, you don’t have many options, but if you know what to do, you can bring it back to life and get your vehicle started, so you can get back on the road and on your way to your destination. If your vehicle won’t start in the winter, it most likely means you have a dead battery. Below, you’ll learn more about how you can safely start your car when you have a dead battery.

  • Park your car next to a vehicle that is able to start, preferably head-to-head, or close enough so your jumper cables can reach from your battery to the other vehicle’s battery, and then turn off the engine of the running vehicle.
  • If either vehicle’s battery is covered, remove the cover so you can have access to the battery’s terminals.
  • Connect the jumper cable to the positive terminal on the vehicle that is running and then to the positive terminal on the vehicle with the dead battery. Then repeat this with the other cable by connecting to the negative terminals. An easy way to remember this is “positive to positive and negative to negative.”
  • Start the engine of the car that is able to start and let it run for a couple of minutes so its battery can charge up.
  • After a few minutes of this, you can attempt to start the car with the dead battery. If it doesn’t start at first, check the connections of the jumper cables to ensure they are firmly attached to the terminals of both batteries and try again. This should start the engine and get you on your way.
  • If your car does not start after many tries, you’ll have to call for service.

The best thing you can do to ensure you don’t get stranded this winter with a dead battery is to schedule an appointment to have your battery tested before the cold weather of winter begins. If your battery shows signs of weakness, it’s a great time to get a new battery installed. 

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