The long summer months have finally given way to the chilly days and nights of the winter season. The low temperatures have an obvious effect on our health as we become more prone to colds and other ailments but it also has an effect on our vehicles, especially when it comes to starting-up our engines. The so called ‘cold start’ is a strenuous process for the engine and, as professionals remind us again and again, after turning on the key we should let it run for a short while before setting off. At that moment the oil is cold and needs to be pumped through all the passages of the engine so that all gearing and pieces are properly lubricated and any unnecessary wear and possible damage can be avoided.
To avert any risks, it is also advised that we start driving slowly and gently for some time after starting up, allowing for the engine to warm up progressively and without putting it under any sudden stress. There are a number of good practices that we can follow depending on our type of engine. If we have a petrol car and our spark plugs are well maintained we shouldn’t have any issue. For diesel vehicles we could try to cycle the intake heaters a couple of times before starting up. This will use up some extra energy from the battery but it will reduce the strain on the starter engine.
A thinner engine oil makes starting-up easier
The quality of our driving has an enormous impact on the ‘health’ of our vehicle but when it comes to cold starting, the type of lubricant that we use also plays a key role. Under extremely low temperatures, our cars, vans and trucks need some special attention and choosing the right engine oil is the best way to care for them. When the temperature drops, a thinner engine oil, or an oil with a lower viscosity, makes starting-up easier. Within the automotive Matrax Lubricants’ range we have thesynthetic-based MatraX InfluX 5W30, which is specifically designed for cold weather conditions. The 5W engine oil can be used under a minimum temperature of -25ºC.
There is no doubt that the lubricant we use protects our engine during a cold start. If you or your garage are tasked with choosing the best engine oil for your vehicle it is therefore important to be aware of this and to consider both the maximum and minimum temperatures that our engine is going to be exposed to. Only in this way we will be able to choose the most appropriate product.