It's currently with me in the mountains where it gets very cold, is there any chance of me damaging it by starting it? I started it 3 days ago and let it run for like 15 mins, but haven't since. It's currently covered in frost. If you need more information in order to help me answer the question please just ask, I'm only just starting to learn about the whole science of it, so I don't know a whole lot. SO GRATEFUL for any information I could get. Thanks heaps!

1 Answer 1


How cold is very cold? The outside temperature when you go to start it is key. But in general, unless you are more than twenty or thirty degrees F below zero, I would say the answer is "no damage"... provided you have used an engine oil and an antifreeze mix that is appropriate for your climate. Your owner's manual should contain the information you need.

Your battery must be in top shape as well, not to prevent damage, but to achieve proper cranking speeds.

  • What would be the damage exactly if it was below -20 degF? In many countries it does get this cold and people drive without any problems. Considering that they didn't forget to keep an eye on their battery. Jun 10, 2016 at 12:56
  • The only real concern is oil flow when viscosity increases, but modern multi-vis (of the right OEM requirement) eliminates most if not all of that risk. Combine poor (or slow) oil flow with extended cranking due to a cold weak battery, is a possible recipe for damaging wear on any lubricated parts. -20 degF is probably too conservative, but much below that might benefit from a block heater or dipstick type oil heater. When I worked for BMW, they played with a trick "heat battery" with a core of phase-change salt slurry. Small pump circulated stored heat into coolant before starting.
    – SteveRacer
    Jun 11, 2016 at 9:07

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