How To Start a 4-Cycle Small Engine When it is Cold

When the weather dips below freezing, most 4-Cycle small engines are much harder to start. Ignition is much more difficult when fuel is cold and the natural vapors are not as expansive as when fuel is warm. Cylinder pressures are lower because the oil does not seal the cylinder well when it is cold. The piston rings contract on the pistons and don’t expand until they begin to heat up.

Here are some tips that will help make starting your 4-Cycle engine easier in extreme cold weather.

  1. If you have a way to warm the engine such as with an electric heater, warm it for 30 minutes prior to starting.
  2. An oil dipstick heater or block heater is another great way to warm the engine prior to starting.
  3. Spray a small amount of starter fluid into the intake after the air filter has been removed and keep the choke closed for a little longer while the engine warms up.
  4. Make sure to have the correct engine oil during cold times of the year. 10W30 is good to 0 degrees and anything colder than that requires 5W30 or a good grade full synthetic.
  5. Be sure that you are using the choke in the full on position. The choke allows more fuel into the carburetor to enrichen the mixture for cold starting.

By heating up the engine and using a small shot of starting fluid, your engine should start fairly easily in even the most extreme weather conditions.