General Car fails to start in cold weather

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General Car fails to start in cold weather

qwerty2018

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Sep 22, 2018
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30
Hello,

To set the scene: Bought car March 2016 a 2004 Fiat Punto and all well.
I put a new battery in my car in August 2019 and all well but Feb 2020 my car would not start thus charged battery up and car fine until late April 2020 and car would not start again and charged battery again and all ok. The same thing happened during the cold months of late 2020 and 2021 and April 2021 took car to garage and they did a test to see if anything drained my battery and the test said nothing was.
Again late months of 2021 the car battery failed on me and I notice on all occasions when I charged my battery it took only twenty minutes to charge fully and the car would last 10 to 14 days before it would fail to start again thus take battery out and charge again. All is well though in the hotter months of the year though.
December 2021 bought a new Varta Battery and all was well no problems until early November 2022 when took three tmes to start the car and a few days later in cold weather it started fine but 19th November again cold weather failed to start but 6 hours later the weather was total sun and it started fine.
Since had the car only subtraction from it was the exhaust taken off and new one put on and nothing else so have no idea why my car fails to start in cold weather and the proof that on 19th November 2022 car would not start in cold weather but six hours later in sunny weather says not the battery that is at fault but something else and wonder what is?
 

Mike1alike

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Aug 3, 2017
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Location
Timisoara
By what you're saying, I'd say the engine starter is the problem. It isn't in ship shape and cold weather affects it, thus it cannot start the engine.
You don't have to buy a new starter, you can rebuild yours. I rebuilt mine, put new rotor and new brushes in, 2 years ago and it works very nice.
 
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Hello,

To set the scene: Bought car March 2016 a 2004 Fiat Punto and all well.
I put a new battery in my car in August 2019 and all well but Feb 2020 my car would not start thus charged battery up and car fine until late April 2020 and car would not start again and charged battery again and all ok. The same thing happened during the cold months of late 2020 and 2021 and April 2021 took car to garage and they did a test to see if anything drained my battery and the test said nothing was.
Again late months of 2021 the car battery failed on me and I notice on all occasions when I charged my battery it took only twenty minutes to charge fully and the car would last 10 to 14 days before it would fail to start again thus take battery out and charge again. All is well though in the hotter months of the year though.
December 2021 bought a new Varta Battery and all was well no problems until early November 2022 when took three tmes to start the car and a few days later in cold weather it started fine but 19th November again cold weather failed to start but 6 hours later the weather was total sun and it started fine.
Since had the car only subtraction from it was the exhaust taken off and new one put on and nothing else so have no idea why my car fails to start in cold weather and the proof that on 19th November 2022 car would not start in cold weather but six hours later in sunny weather says not the battery that is at fault but something else and wonder what is?
when the battery is cold it has much less power available than when warmer. And the oil is thicker when it is colder so it needs more work to turn the engine and you have less available power to do so. However, A car in good condition should still start very quickly in very cold weather.
 

Cornish Ian

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Oct 8, 2022
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Cornwall
Have you or your garage checked if the alternator is under or over charging. Either will kill a battery in a short time especially over charging.
 
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qwerty2018

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Sep 22, 2018
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Thank you here for all you kind help..
Today jumped into the car 23rd Novermber (Wed) first time since Saturday 19th November at 8am and a cold morning and car would not start so waited till 12pm midday and nice and sunny and would not start again so I took the battery out and charged it but it only took 2 hours to charge the whole car battery. I put it back in and the car started but have been to the garage and told to bring motor in early next week. Will keep you all posted and huge thanks here.
 

The Panda Nut

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Does the engine turn over properly or is it sluggish starter? Or does starter spin fast and the car just not fire up?
 
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qwerty2018

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Sep 22, 2018
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Been to the garage today and put clips on my battery and tested it and said not the alternator at fault but a faulty battery. I asked if the starter motor was at fault and they said no. I do wonder though how they check to see if the starter motor is at fault?. Only had the battery since December last year and would like the answer to this question: This is the battery and wonder if it is a sealed battery or a standard battery?:
 

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Cornish Ian

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Oct 8, 2022
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Been to the garage today and put clips on my battery and tested it and said not the alternator at fault but a faulty battery. I asked if the starter motor was at fault and they said no. I do wonder though how they check to see if the starter motor is at fault?. Only had the battery since December last year and would like the answer to this question: This is the battery and wonder if it is a sealed battery or a standard battery?:
Your battery is maintenance free so nothing to do there.

To recap it seems that you’ve had a battery that has lasted 2 years ( 20 mins to charge fully) and the next only a year ( garage test) .
I find it difficult to believe you’ve just been that unlucky so my thoughts are that you have another problem.
As Panda nut asked does your starter spin the engine at a normal speed. Can you remember if the starter was spinning the engine properly during the winter when your Varta battery was new?

Assuming your garage know what they are doing and your starter motor and alternator are ok its highly likely you still have a problem that is severely reducing your battery life.

Did you tell them the battery is only a year old and ask them why they think it’s failed?
Did the garage check the alternator was not over charging?
How often do you use the car?
What charger do you use to charge your battery when it’s flat?
Do you have a habit of leaving side lights on and flatening the battery?
Have you or can you borrow a multimeter to check your charging voltage on your car yourself?
Have you tried jump starting your car when it fails to start when its cold?
 
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That Varta battery should still be under Warranty :)

Ive been thinking your issue was a temperature related one

Cranking away.. but not firing and running

But from what you posted this week...I am not convinced it is cranking on the starter


Can you recap what the Garage have tested..and ruled out :)
 

koalar

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Oct 24, 2016
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Battery should last much longer a year

The original is Normally good for 10 years

How’s the car used, daily, weekly

Doses it ever stand for weeks unused


Does it get used much for runs under a 2 miles

What’s the battery resting voltage

What’s the voltage from the alternator

What’s the voltage from the alternator under Load at idle

What’s the voltage from the alternator under Load at higher revs

Have you done a voltage drop test on the power and ground leads

So many questions I know. But you shouldn’t be just changing your battery every year. I can see from the photos you put a good make of adequate cranking amps
 

Mike1alike

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Holly Trinity! Holly Electric Trinity = Alternator, Starter, Battery.
The Battery is practically new and you even had another new battery for only 2 years. Obviously you should now check the other members of the Trinity.
 
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qwerty2018

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Sep 22, 2018
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Huge thank you to you all here.
I do admit I am a complete novice when it comes to cars so please accept my apologies here.

I took the car to the garage and the mechanic attached a battery measuring device to my battery. He attached a clip to the positive and negative terminals and then asked me to turn my engine on and put the lights on. He then if my memory serves me right attacked smaller clips to the clips attached to the battery he had put on to test it. The new clips were attached to a small box with alternator on it and he said it was not my alternator. I asked him if it was the starter motor and he said no but I have a faulty battery. I always make sure all my lights are switched off before I turn my car off. I have a friend who used a multimeter to test my previous car battery and never have I tried to jump start the car when it is cold. I also told the mechanic at the garage that the battery was less than a year old.

The car is used twice a week normally and sometimes three times with each journey being 8 miles (4 there and 4 back) on average but during April to October every third week I will do a journey of between 70 to 100 miles (35/50 miles there and 35/50 miles back) When it comes to November to March the car is used less though compared to April to October.

What I cannot understand is the previous car battery I had always failed on me in the cold months but the battery I have now (Varta) which I bought Decembe 2021 went through December 2021 and the cold months of this year 2022 without any fail until November 2022. When I start the car it sounds fine and no abnormal noises to be heard only when the car will not start.

I also admit when I took the battery out in November to charge it that I charged it as a standard battery and not sealed and am unsure if it is a standard or sealed car battery.

Once again Huge Thanks here for your kind help.

This is the car battery charger I use:
 

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Joined
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Thanks for the thorough explanation (y)

That does help a lot :)

Not KNOWING about cars isnt megga important.. you actually took notice of what the garage did (y)

It sounds like they used a specific device to test the Alternators effect on the battery charge.. and found no fault


From what you just said about the off.car charging..and jumplead starting :

Never needing to jump.start.. a good indication the car is still cranking the engine on the starter.. as designed :)

Battery charger : only really of use when the battery is 'Depleted' ( low on charge )


Depleted: cranking the engine is a Massive strain on the electrical system

You could have working lights for HOURS after a battery is too flat ( low on charge) to efffectively Crank the engine 😉


To me your USE is a part of the problem..

My old dad said 'you need to drive 20 miles' to replenish the Battery energy you use Cranking the engine


That was said in the 1980's.. probably reflecting 1960's technology


Things have moved on.. BUT your '4 mile' trips are not ideal

My mum has a car (2003) that does very similar .. and every winter it needs a charge before it will crank the engine..

A New battery will keep that at bay for 2 winters.... ;)

So :

Take your present battery back.. tell them you have had it assessed as 'faulty' and want it replaced under the Warranty

It SHOULD make a big difference.. from the moment it is fitted - to the Spring as a minimum :cool:


Do let us know how it does :)
 

koalar

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I assume the charger is fine ?

I down loaded the manual and there’s no specifications.

No mention of trickle charge rates and so on

The website says it’s
  • Charge Rate : 5.4A
But the specifications says

4A - 10A

I guess 5.4 is between 4-10

It’s all very vague
 

Cornish Ian

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Joined
Oct 8, 2022
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Cornwall
I assume the charger is fine ?

I down loaded the manual and there’s no specifications.

No mention of trickle charge rates and so on

The website says it’s
  • Charge Rate : 5.4A
But the specifications says

4A - 10A

I guess 5.4 is between 4-10

It’s all very vague
The only thing I would query is that the switch should be to sealed rather than standard. I believe the sealed switch could enable charging at slightly lower voltage as there will be no topping up facility.
Would be interesting to see if Halfords know.
 

bugsymike

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Thanks for the thorough explanation (y)

That does help a lot :)

Not KNOWING about cars isnt megga important.. you actually took notice of what the garage did (y)

It sounds like they used a specific device to test the Alternators effect on the battery charge.. and found no fault


From what you just said about the off.car charging..and jumplead starting :

Never needing to jump.start.. a good indication the car is still cranking the engine on the starter.. as designed :)

Battery charger : only really of use when the battery is 'Depleted' ( low on charge )


Depleted: cranking the engine is a Massive strain on the electrical system

You could have working lights for HOURS after a battery is too flat ( low on charge) to efffectively Crank the engine 😉


To me your USE is a part of the problem..

My old dad said 'you need to drive 20 miles' to replenish the Battery energy you use Cranking the engine


That was said in the 1980's.. probably reflecting 1960's technology


Things have moved on.. BUT your '4 mile' trips are not ideal

My mum has a car (2003) that does very similar .. and every winter it needs a charge before it will crank the engine..

A New battery will keep that at bay for 2 winters.... ;)

So :

Take your present battery back.. tell them you have had it assessed as 'faulty' and want it replaced under the Warranty

It SHOULD make a big difference.. from the moment it is fitted - to the Spring as a minimum :cool:


Do let us know how it does :)
I agree with varesecrazy, lack of use, occasional short journeys at slow speeds , possibly with headlights on now winter is here is just not putting enough back into the battery that is taken out with that sort of use. I had several retired customers whose average mileage over a year was less than 1000miles, it was common for me to have to start and charge their batteries.
If your garage has checked everything else then it can only be not enough use.
If you are unlikely to change your driving needs, then all you can do is have as big a battery as will fit amps wise, get a good quality "intelligent " battery charger and charge the battery regularly, maybe once a month.
If you have a garage to keep the car in, use it as the car will always start easier from a warm garage.
Check with charger supplier if OK to charge battery in situ is safe to do as it will make life easier than lugging the battery indoors each time, just remember to unplug before driving off;).
 

Cornish Ian

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Oct 8, 2022
Messages
75
Location
Cornwall
Thanks for the thorough explanation (y)

That does help a lot :)

Not KNOWING about cars isnt megga important.. you actually took notice of what the garage did (y)

It sounds like they used a specific device to test the Alternators effect on the battery charge.. and found no fault


From what you just said about the off.car charging..and jumplead starting :

Never needing to jump.start.. a good indication the car is still cranking the engine on the starter.. as designed :)

Battery charger : only really of use when the battery is 'Depleted' ( low on charge )


Depleted: cranking the engine is a Massive strain on the electrical system

You could have working lights for HOURS after a battery is too flat ( low on charge) to efffectively Crank the engine 😉


To me your USE is a part of the problem..

My old dad said 'you need to drive 20 miles' to replenish the Battery energy you use Cranking the engine


That was said in the 1980's.. probably reflecting 1960's technology


Things have moved on.. BUT your '4 mile' trips are not ideal

My mum has a car (2003) that does very similar .. and every winter it needs a charge before it will crank the engine..

A New battery will keep that at bay for 2 winters.... ;)

So :

Take your present battery back.. tell them you have had it assessed as 'faulty' and want it replaced under the Warranty

It SHOULD make a big difference.. from the moment it is fitted - to the Spring as a minimum :cool:


Do let us know how it does :)
I was going to reply earlier but a fondue got in the way.
Anyway I agree with all this especially the 4 mile trips not being ideal. A battery will degrade quickest when partially charged, typically 50% state of charge and below.
Perhaps a switching off of heavy load items at the 2 mile mark might help a little, especially if your alternator voltage is on the lower side of average. Heated screens, heater fans and even lights if you can do without them might just tip the balance. It also depends how well your quickly your car starts from cold, grinding over for many seconds won’t help your cause.
 

koalar

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Oct 24, 2016
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Cheshire
Is it a sealed battery

From the photo it looks like it

Sealed battery’s don’t like being left discharged. There’s a irreversible chemical reaction

The usage has to be marginal

I can only speak from my own usage

40 miles each way once a week is fine. But once a fortnight is getting marginal. Cold weather car outside.

Normally sealed battery are charged at a lower current for a longer time. But seeing as there no information on you charger we can only guess this is what’s happening
 

koalar

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Oct 24, 2016
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Cheshire
If you have or would like to get a multi meter there only a few pounds we can work out for some basic test.

Probably the first is to check the tension and condition of the aux belt
 
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qwerty2018

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Sep 22, 2018
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Hello folks and a massive thanks for your kind help on here.
On Sunday 4th December took the car out for a 30 mile spin and all was fine.
Today on Wednesday 7th December a friend called and did a test with the Multimeter and I then did a 5 mile journey afterwards and all was fine.
I will use the car every third day now and short journeys off 8 mile (4 miles there, break and 4 miles back) but every 10th day will do the 30 mile journey.
Checked with the Battery Company Vartar and they told me the following (I asked them if the battery was Sealed or Standard):
"Your battery is a Blue Dynamic 544 401 042. It is a flooded lead-acid battery and it has a sealed construction, so that it is spillproof"

They (Varta) also provided me with 2 web links:


I will admit one thing here - Bought the battery new and fitted it in December 2021 and first time it failed on me was early November 2022 so took it out and charged it as Standard and not Sealed even though I now know it is a Sealed battery and the battery only took 2 hours to charge.

Here are the Multimeter readings:
Multimeter 1 Still Photo Reading is before the Car engine is turned on.
Multimeter 2 Car Engine Turned on and Running (52549019141)
Multimeter 3 Still Photo of Reading whilst Car Engine is Running
Multimeter 4 Car Engine Turned on and Running and also Lights Turned on (52549567663)
Multimeter 5 Still Photo of Car Engine Turned on and Running and also Lights Turned on
 

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