Here’s Why Your Nissan Rogue Won’t Start in the Cold

Battery issues are the most likely culprit if your Nissan Rogue won’t start on a cold day. Read on to learn how to get your Rogue back on the road.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Jessa Claeys
If your Nissan Rogue doesn’t want to start when the weather turns wintry, your battery is the most likely suspect. However, other issues may be to blame like frozen fuel lines, frosty fluids, or using the incorrect type of oil. 
The Rogue is a popular midsize SUV that’s ready to take on all manner of adventures, from camping trips to carpools. But Mother Nature sometimes has other plans—even the hardiest vehicles can be bested by freezing temperatures. If your Rogue won’t start when it’s cold out, here are some possible reasons why—and what you can do about them!

The freezing five: why your Nissan Rogue won’t start in the cold

1. Dead battery

The problem: Your battery is due to be replaced or is drained from being in the cold for too long. 
What to do:
Jumpstart your battery
. If that doesn’t revive it, it may be time for a new one.
How much it should cost: $0–$250
No matter the weather, a dead or dying battery is a prime suspect if a car won’t start. In general, your
battery should have a lifespan of about three to five years. If you’ve had yours for longer than that, it’s likely time for a fresh one. Cold weather is particularly hard on batteries and can cause them to drain faster or have more difficulty starting up. 
If you have a voltmeter, you can check to see if there’s any charge left in your battery. But if it’s extremely low (or totally drained) and a jumpstart isn’t bringing it back to life, then your next step should be replacing it. 
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2. Insufficient battery

The problem: Your battery doesn’t have adequate cold cranking amps (CCA).  
What to do: Replace the battery with a more powerful one. 
How much it should cost: $180–$250
It’s also possible that your battery is actually fine—it’s just not powerful enough to start your engine on a really cold day. 
When you shop for car batteries, you’ll notice a figure called CCA. This stands for cold cranking amps, and it’s an indication of a battery’s ability to start an engine when it’s extremely cold
Batteries that are appropriate for a Rogue should have CCAs between 640 to 735. If you’ve got a battery on the low end of that spectrum, then it might be perfectly fine in temperate conditions but not when things dip below freezing. 
MORE: The best cars and SUVs for winter driving

3. Frozen fuel lines

The problem: Water vapor in the fuel tank can lead to frozen fuel lines.
What to do: Keep your gas tank full or consider using a fuel additive.
How much it should cost: $25–$100 
Another possible trouble spot could be frozen fuel lines. If the weather’s cold enough, the condensation in your gas tank and fuel lines can freeze, thus making it impossible for your engine to get enough fuel to start. 
You can help to prevent this by keeping your gas tank full and/or using an appropriate fuel additive. If things are already frozen, topping the tank off or using a thawing additive can help to get things moving. 
If you do decide to use a fuel additive, make sure to check with your Nissan dealership to find out which ones are okay to use with your Rogue. Alternatively, you can simply wait for temps to warm up or use a portable heater to speed up the process. 

4. Incorrect engine oil for the weather

The problem: Your engine oil is too viscous (thick) at cold temperatures, making it unable to circulate properly.
What to do: Replace your oil with the type recommended by the manufacturer for cold weather. 
How much it should cost: $75–$100
You know that engine oil is vital, but what you may not know is that not all oils are created equal! Depending on the model year and mileage of your Rogue, you should generally be using a 0W-30 or 5W-30 oil. 
The number before the “W” refers to an oil’s viscosity in winter. If the oil gets too thick, it’s going to be a problem—kind of like how cold syrup takes more time to pour than when it’s nice and warm. 
Check your owner’s manual to make sure that you have the correct oil in your Rogue. Make sure that it’s the type that the manufacturer recommends for cold weather
MORE: Nissan Rogue oil capacity
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5. Frozen transmission fluid or coolant

The problem: Other fluids like transmission fluids or coolant can freeze up, as well. 
What to do: Thaw your Rogue out using a heater, or just wait for things to warm up.
How much it should cost: $0
Besides gasoline and oil, several other fluids are required to keep your vehicle running—and freezing temperatures can adversely affect them, too!
Engine coolant
helps to keep your engine at the proper temperature, but if things get too chilly, it can freeze. This can make it difficult to impossible to start your Rogue, and driving with frozen fluids can cause severe damage.
If you suspect that your fluids have frozen, don’t drive until you’re sure they have thawed out. If you have a portable heater, this can help speed things up. However, depending on the temperature, it might be several days before you can safely drive your car again. And if it’s that cold, best to stay inside anyway!
MORE: Antifreeze vs. coolant: what’s the difference?

Other potential causes: bad alternator, faulty starter, old spark plugs…

Above are the most likely sources of trouble with starting your Rogue when it’s cold outside. But there could also be issues that don’t have anything to do with the weather
Here are a few other things to include on your troubleshooting list: 
  • Bad alternator: Your
    is an integral part of your battery’s operation. If it’s starting to decline, you’ll notice symptoms like dim accessory and dashboard lights.
  • Broken starter: Do you hear a clicking noise when you’re trying to start your Rogue? If so, the culprit could be a
    bad starter
  • No fuel: This sounds silly, but you’d be surprised. Make sure you have adequate gas in the tank to start your Rogue. If it seems like the gas level is lower than it should be, check for a fuel leak. 
  • Faulty spark plugs: Bad
    spark plugs
    are a frequent cause of a vehicle failing to start, no matter the weather. 
  • Dirty or loose battery cables: Your battery might be just fine, but if the cables are loose or the
    terminal ends
    are dirty or corroded, it can affect performance. Make sure your cables are firmly connected and the terminals are clean and in good condition.
MORE: How long do Nissans last?

Things to try if your Nissan Rogue won’t start in the cold

If you just can’t get your Rogue to start on a cold day, don’t despair! Here are a few things you can try before you call in sick and go back to bed (unless that sounds lovely to you). 

Bring your battery inside

Most of the problems associated with cold-weather starting are battery-related, as severe temperatures are brutal on batteries! You can give your battery a little TLC on a cold morning by bringing it inside. 
Disconnect it, take it indoors, and give it a few hours to warm up before you reconnect it and try to start your Rogue. 

Turn on accessory mode

If your Rogue doesn’t want to start right away, a more gentle approach may be the solution. Turn on the accessory mode for a few minutes before you start the engine. 
This gives the battery a little time to wake up. We all know that sometimes you need to just sit with your coffee a bit in the morning—this is your car’s version of that. 

Get an engine block heater

If you’re in an area where the winters are prolonged and exceedingly cold, then an engine block heater might be a great investment. There are a few different styles, but they all have the same function—you just plug them in overnight for an easier (and warmer) start in the morning! 
These can also help with fuel economy and keeping things eco-friendly, as they reduce the amount of time you’ll need to let your Rogue warm up. 
MORE: The cold truth about warming your car up in the winter
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