Why is it that my Kia Optima won’t start in cold weather?

My Kia Optima wouldn’t start for me this morning. It was really cold, but that shouldn’t keep my car from starting. It’s only four years old, and it never had a problem starting in the cold before. What could be causing this?

Matt Terzi · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Yuck, there’s nothing worse than your car not starting first thing in the morning! But the good news is, the solution might be relatively affordable—in fact, there’s a good chance it’ll cost nothing to fix. So there’s a silver lining!
Given your car’s age, it’s likely a safe guess that you’ve never replaced the car battery in your Kia Optima. And that’s okay. Car batteries can go bad after three to five years of use, but they often won’t fail until six or seven years at least.
But car batteries really don’t like cold weather. It slows down their internal chemistry, making it significantly harder for them to power everything up in your car. And starting the engine up is already pretty taxing on an engine as it is.
Turn off everything in your car that’s drawing from the electricity, like the stereo, headlights, and heater, and unplug phones and other devices. All of this stuff is drawing power from your battery, and the engine needs as much of the battery’s attention as possible.
In most cases, simply turning everything off and then starting the engine should work. And if it does, be sure to let the engine run for a while, either by idling or driving around a bit, so the engine’s alternator has plenty of time to charge up the car battery.
If this didn’t work, you may need to try
getting a jumpstart
. And when you’re able, you’ll want to take the battery to a mechanic or an auto parts store to have it tested. We hate to say it, but there’s a chance the battery has surpassed its life expectancy and needs replacing.
It’s also possible (but less likely) that you’re having an issue with the fuel pump. As fuel pumps get older, they can get a little leaky and moisture can sneak into your fuel lines. But we wouldn’t worry about that until you’ve had the battery examined.
Having the wrong grade of motor oil can also cause issues, especially in colder weather. A mechanic would check this if your battery was good. We hope this information helps! MORE: Why do car heaters blow cold air?
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Jerry partners with more than 50 insurance companies, but our content is independently researched, written, and fact-checked by our team of editors and agents. We aren’t paid for reviews or other content.

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