Hundreds of drivers unable to start their cars on winter mornings due to common issues

Guide to charging your car battery

Experts at the breakdown group warn of periods of cold. damp weather can “play havoc with batteries, fuel systems, starter motors, alternators, oil and -where fitted- carburetors”. However, they warn battery issues are the most common cause if vehicles refuse to start on a cold morning.


The RAC warns a “vast number” of winter callouts are down to battery-related issues.

Signs of a flat battery include a faint whining noise when you turn the key in the ignition or if there are no ignition lights on the dashboard.

Drivers can attempt to jump-start their car if they need to get on with their journey as soon as possible.

However, road users may need to get a replacement battery as soon as possible and should visit a garage to make sure the work is completed.

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Car alternator failure

The RAC warns alternator problems are likely to be the cause if your engine does immediately after jump-starting your car.

Motorists can also identify an alternator failure if their headlights and dashboard lights are flickering.

These problems can only be fixed if the part is replaced with the RAC urging drivers to leave this to the experts.

This shouldn’t take the garage more than two hours and drivers can even have their existing alternator reconditioned if they wish to save some extra money.

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Starter Motor

The RAC warns the most common sign of a starter motor failure id a clicking sound when turning the ignition key,

This is likely to be the issue if the lights and in-car electrics are working fine but the car refuses to start.

If the starter motor has failed, jump-starting the car will not solve the problem.

Experts say only the support of trained mechanics is the only hope of completely fixing the issue.

The RAC confirms starter motors are “not hugely expensive” with repairs taking around half a day to finalise.

Car fuel

Vehicles incorrectly stored may have water enter the fuel system which can cause combustion issues.

Water can freeze over the winter which can cause damage to the fuel system and even prevent the car from starting altogether.

The RAC has confirmed water in the fuel tank may require the entire fuel system to be professionally flushed out.

Additives can reduce contamination but this may not be as effective as completely unblocking the system.

Car door frozen

On frosty mornings, road users may be unable to access their car at all decaying journeys.

The RAC urges drivers to use a silicone-based furniture polish on the rubber seals of the vehicles which will prevent doors from getting stuck when it freezes over.

If the locks are completely frozen, they urge drivers to warm-up their key.

Motorists could also try and unfreeze the lock by using anti-freeze or by spraying WD40.

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