Honda CR-V barely starts when temp drops

cherokeekb23cherokeekb23 Member Posts: 1
edited December 2014 in Honda
I have a 2003 Honda CRV that has a hard time turning over when the temperature drops slightly. We've replaced the battery and the spark plugs already but there's no difference. Once the vehicle has warmed up, it starts just fine -- when it's warm outside, it starts just fine. Today, the temperature was barely below freezing and after it sat outside for 8 hours, it didn't start on the first attempt. It was slow to turn over and after a few usuccessful turn overs, it quit trying. I turned the key off and tried again -- this time it turned a little faster and eventually started once I gave it a little gas while turning the key. Could the starter be wearing out or is there something else we need to check?

Answers

  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
    Sometimes if it's REALLY cold, my cars will sort of act like a frozen lump and not want to turn over very easily, but I've never really run into that unless we're talking about temps in the single digit to zero range.
    First thing my mind goes to is cranking capacity of the battery, but given the temperature you're talking about, that doesn't seem like it would be an issue. So what else could make it difficult for an engine to turn over. Friction. Check the oil level perhaps? Since the car is starting OK and running OK when warmer, I assume it's not without oil. Just flailing a bit for an idea here
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,559
    edited December 2014
    Diagnostics would start with three measurements. The battery voltage with no load on it, and the battery voltage and starter current draw while cranking. These measurements are best done with a high amps current probe and a digital oscilloscope.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Is it really the battery and not, say the fuel system?
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,559
    edited December 2014
    Based on the description that is a question mark. I was going to go further about the "turn over" portion of the information but decided against that for the moment. There are a lot of people who confuse that phrase and refer to a cranks but hard to start as a "won't turn over" which is really a won't crank. In context I'm led to believe the OP has it correct and the starter is struggling to crank the engine. As a diagnostician it would then be my responsibility to prove or disprove that fact. If proven, and it is a slow or hard crank condition, the testing with the high amps probe and the scope would show me exactly where to go next. That same test also would give me definitive proof if the starter, battery, and cables are not at fault so that is the first step.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    If a battery is on it's last legs a cold snap can finish it off.

    Just because it isn't very old doesn't mean it's not up to snuff. A load test will tell you what's up.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    One thing you could do is jump start it and see how it responds. If it kicks off immediately you may indeed, as Doc implies, have a battery or excessive starter draw problem. Unfortunately you need a special kind of ammeter to measure starter draw, not the dinky little one you get with a $20 voltmeter.

    when it gets cold, a battery can lose 30% or more of its efficiency. So if it's a bit run down to begin with, freezing temps will finish it off.

    What kind of oil do you have in there?
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