Q:

What makes a car hard to start?

A:

Quick Answer

A dead battery, bad starter connection, faulty ignition switch and a clogged fuel filter are all factors that make a car hard to start. In cold weather, the slow evaporation of gasoline and coagulated oil also contributes to starting problems.

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Full Answer

A dead battery is the most common cause of starting problems for cars, and it can be diagnosed using a battery tester to measure cranking amps. While jump-starting is a temporary solution, a dying battery will eventually die completely, so it is important to know the battery’s charge capacity and state of charge. The starter connection on a vehicle can become corroded over time, affecting the efficiency of the electrical circuit. If the starter does not spin freely when the key is turned, then the problem rests with the starter. When a car has a faulty ignition switch, turning the key to the “on” position results in the dashboard not lighting up.

During the winter, low temperatures can slow down the evaporation of gasoline, making it harder for the car to burn the fuel. One solution is to spray a small amount of ether into the engine to help it start up. The cold makes oil thicker and resistant to flowing through the engine during a cold start. Synthetic motor oils are better suited for winter weather because they retain their consistency regardless of temperature. The chemicals inside a car battery are also affected by the cold, providing less energy to the starter motor, which then causes a slow turning of the engine.

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