This is a fantastic article found at teh Lesley Voth site... a must read for everyone who lives in cold weather
Car Got The Cold Weather Blues?
I am not a lover of cold weather and in some cases your car feels the same.
It does not really matter how well maintained your vehicle is kept, there are times when it is very temperamental and does not want to start. This has happened to me many times over time.
Here are some tips if you turn the key in your car and nothing happens.
1. Take a deep breath - Relax. You are not going to make it in time to wherever you are going. Get used to that idea. That's ok, there could be lots of reasons for that. Some people have missed a plane crash because they could not get to the airport on time. So tell yourself it could be a good thing. Now that you are feeling better lets look at the more practical things that could help your situation
2. When you turn the key - It just clicks or nothing then most likely in the cold weather it will be the battery.
3. Did you leave the lights on? - The inside light left on will flatten a not so healthy battery by morning. Left the headlights on? Yes that will do it.
4. Battery connections - Give the battery connections a wiggle. Loose? Get out the screwdriver and tighten the connection. Give the key another turn, see if that will do the trick.
5. Corroded connection - Check for corrosion on the connection. If it looks like it could be, give it a light brushing to clean it up. Try to start it again.
6. Jump Start - Not all vehicles can be jumped started. Read your owner's manual, first. Your manufacturer may advise against jump starting a vehicle due to sensitive electronic circuitry.
7. Frozen Battery - Don't try to jump-start it while it is frozen
8. Check Battery - If you see that it is cracked or leaking Do Not try to jump-start it. You need to go buy a new one or get a tow truck to take your car to a repair shop.
9. Dry battery - Check to see if the battery has fluid inside. If it is dry then you will have to fill it to the fluid levels. There is a caution here though as batteries usually need pure clean water. You need to check with your manual.
10. Sparking connections - If you are jump starting the vehicle make sure the hook up clamps do not touch. You could have a fireworks display that could be a bit scary
11. Tow Truck - Still not able to start it then you may have a more serious problem like a bad starter or alternator. I think you are going to need a tow truck.
THE CAR CRANKS BUT DOES NOT START
If the starter turns, but the engine won't start, the problem can be much harder to diagnose. One common problem is a frozen fuel line. In the winter, be sure to always keep your fuel tank half full. If water accumulates in your fuel line, the condensation will freeze and your car won't start. If you've been driving in wet conditions or deep snow, wet spark plugs or other engine components can prevent your car from starting.
Here are some items you should always carry in your car in case of emergencies
Jumpstart cables - the longer the better
Jumpstart Gloves - protect hands from acid
Flashlight - a must in any car
Paper Coveralls - inexpensive and will protect your clothes
Jumpstart manual - a must read before you attempt to jumpstart any car
Have a Fabulous & Frugal Day!!! As well as a Merry Christmas!!!