Cold starts. You really can’t escape them during the winter. A cold start is basically any time you start up a vehicle when the temperature is considered extremely cold. This is usually any time the temperature is below 0°C.
Many people don’t think much about cold starts, but they can actually cause harm to your vehicle, and not just the engine.
How cold temperatures affect cars.
BMWs are some of the finest vehicles on the roads today, but they are also subject to the same laws of physics as other vehicles. When the temperature decreases, the speed by which molecules move also decreases. Eventually, when it gets cold enough water turns to ice. The same holds true of other fluids, but their freezing points will vary.
So while the antifreeze in your BMW isn’t likely going to freeze, even in the coldest of conditions in the Greater Toronto Area, if it did get cold enough, it, too, would freeze just like water.
When you get into your vehicle and turn the key in the ignition, the moment you turn it over and the starter motor winds up, beginning to crank the engine and pull oil and fuel into the system, it requires a great deal of electrical power. A strong battery can handle this without a problem.
However, because molecules begin moving slower the colder it gets, the more likely the oil isn’t going to be flowing freely once the engine turns over and begins to crank on its own. That exposes the internal components of the engine, including the cylinders and pistons, to potential wear and tear.
What can you do?
A good habit to get into is to turn the key, wait several seconds before turning the engine on, and this will allow the oil to begin moving up out of the pan below the engine and into the engine compartment. This can help protect crucial components from potential damage.
You may have a remote starter and while that may be convenient, whenever you have the opportunity, it’s a good idea to allow the oil and antifreeze to begin flowing through your engine before those rough, cold starts.