Question about 1996 Dodge Intrepid

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1996 dodge intrepid w/n start in cold weather only

Has new battery, synthetic oil. Problem has been happening for years only when temperature outside gets into low teens and below. Engine cranks fast, sputters occasionaly but doesn't start. Soon as temperature gets into mid to upper twenties it starts fine and runs great. Suspect ECM, air temp sensor or coolant sensors. How do I troubleshoot this with out paying big bucks to dealerships? I heard there was a safety recall for ECM download for cold temp starts, but not sure because I can't find it on the web. Car is not mine but my mothers and she can't afford to replace alot of parts by mechanics throwing parts at it to fix problem.

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First take to autozone and have it scanned for codes if no codes then take to dealer to have cold start flash done

Posted on Jan 17, 2009

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No oil pressure on cold mornings for about 7 seconds.5.3 engine


When it's cold outside, the oil inside the engine is just as cold. My 99 Silverado does not like starting when the temp gets below 10 degrees any more than I like going out in that temp and starting it. I have the engine block heater in my truck and I ALWAYS plug it in the evening before I know I'm going to use it. I also run Mobil 1 Full Synthetic 5W30 oil in it. 5W30 is a very light oil that will resist cold weather thickening sufficiently enough that it will start flowing immediately after starting. I know some people think that a heavier oil should be used in the winter, but that is absolutely wrong thinking. USE THE LIGHTEST OIL YOUR OWNERS MANUAL RECOMMENDS IN WINTER!!!!!!!!! Most modern vehicles owners manuals recommend 5W30 used year-round as the recommended oil, but 10W30 may be used if the temp will be above 0 degrees for the majority of the next oil service life. However, the most modern vehicles, i.e. those built since 2008 may require 5W30 only, or 5W20 as well. CHECK YOUR OWNERS MANUAL FOR THE PROPER OIL WEIGHT FOR YOUR VEHICLE!!!!!!! Some vehicles even go so far as to REQUIRE synthetic oil. Any 2011 or newer GM vehicle MUST use synthetic oil that has Dexos on the label. At this time, only synthetic oils have the Dexos rating in them. If your vehicle calls for using only 0W20, then only synthetic oils are made to 0W20 specs. DO NOT USE ANY WEIGHT OF OIL YOUR ENGINE IS NOT RATED TO USE!!!!! Just forget about 10W40 or 20W50. Your dealership will just look at you and tell you your broken engine no longer is covered by the manufacturers warranty if you use an unapproved oil for your engine. Again, check your owners manual for the recommended oil weight for your vehicle.

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Oil consumption in a merc c 250td 1997


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My car doesnt want to start up right away in the morning. Almost like its really cold out and it takes it a min. The rest of the day its fine runs great. Any ideas?


Reason 1 - Gasoline, like any other liquid, evaporates less when it is cold.You have seen this -- if you pour water onto a hot sidewalk it will evaporate a lot faster than it will from a cooler place like a shady sidewalk. When it gets really cold, gasoline evaporates slowly so it is harder to burn it (the gasoline must be vaporized to burn). Sometimes you will see people spray ether into their engines in cold weather to help them start -- ether evaporates better than gasoline in cold weather.

Reason 2 - Oil gets a lot thicker in cold weather. You probably know that cold pancake syrup or honey from the refrigator is a lot thicker than hot syrup or honey. Oil does the same thing. So when you try to start a cold engine, the engine has to push around the cold, gooey oil and that makes it harder for the engine to spin. In really cold places people must use synthetic motor oils because these oils stay liquid in cold temperatures.


Re ason 3 - Batteries have problems in cold weather, too. A battery is a can full of chemicals that produce electrons The chemical reactions inside of batteries take place more slowly when the battery is cold, so the battery produces fewer electrons. The starter motor therefore has less energy to work with when it tries to start the engine, and this causes the engine to crank slowly.

All three of these problems can make it impossible to start an engine in really cold weather. People either keep their cars in heated garages or use "block heaters" to get around these problems. A block heater is a little electric heater that you plug into the wall to keep the engine warm.
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Engine oil capacity & type


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Visco 2000 or mobil oil, use the dipstick to check do not let it be too full.

The type specified by the vehicle manufacturer in your owner's manual. For most passenger car and light truck gasoline engines today, it's any oil that meets the American Petroleum Institutes "SH" rating.
As for the viscosity of oil to use, most new engines today require a multiviscosity 5W-30 oil for all-round driving. The lighter 5W-30 oils contain friction reducing additives that help improve fuel economy, and also allow the oil to quickly reach critical upper valvetrain components when a cold engine is first started. Most engine wear occurs immediately after a cold start, so it's important to have oil that is thin enough to circulate easily -- especially at cold temperatures.
For older engines and ones that are driven at sustained highways speeds during hot weather, 10W-30 or 10W-40 is a good choice. Heavier multiviscosity oils such as 20W-40 are for high rpm, high-load applications primarily and are not recommended for cold weather driving.
Straight weight 30W and 40W oils aren't very popular anymore, but some diehards insist on using them. They say the thicker oil holds up better under high temperature (which it does), increases oil pressure and reduces oil consumption in high mileage engines. But straight 30W and 40W oils are too thick for cold weather and may make an engine hard to start. They may also be too thick to provide adequate start-up lubrication to critical upper valvetrain components during cold weather. So switching to a straight 20W oil would be necessary for cold weather driving. Straight 10W oil can also improve cold starting, but is very thin and should only be used in sub-zero climates. A multiviscosity 10W-30 or 10W-40 will provide the same cold starting benefits of a 10W oil and the high temperature protection of a 30W or 40W oil.
For the ultimate in high temperature protection, durability and all-round performance, synthetic oils are the way to go. Unfortunately, most synthetic oils cost up to three times as much as ordinary petroleum-based oils. They cost more because synthetics are manmade rather than refined from petroleum. But this improves their performance in virtually every aspect:
  • Superior temperature resistance. Synthetics can safely handle higher operating temperatures without oxidizing (burning) or breaking down. The upper limit for most mineral based oils is about 250 to 300 degrees F. Synthetics can take up to 450 degrees F. or higher. This makes synthetics well-suited for turbo applications as well as high rpm and high output engine applications.
  • Better low temperature performance. Synthetics flow freely at subzero temperatures, pouring easily at -40 or -50 degrees F. where ordinary oils turn to molasses. This makes for easier cold starts and provides faster upper valvetrain lubrication during the first critical moments when most engine wear occurs.
  • Better engine performance. Synthetics tend to be more slippery than their petroleum-based counterparts, which improves fuel economy, cuts frictional horsepower losses and helps the engine run cooler. The difference isn't great, but it can make a noticeable difference.
  • Longer oil change intervals. Because synthetics resist oxidation and viscosity breakdown better than ordinary motor oils, some suppliers say oil change intervals can be safely extended -- in some cases stretched to as much as 25,000 miles. Such claims are justified by the fact that synthetics don't break down or sludge up as fast as ordinary mineral-based oils do in use. CAUTION: For vehicles under warranty, extending the normal change interval is not recommended because failing to follow the OEM's maintenance schedule can void your warranty.
    Synthetics are available in the same grades as ordinary motor oils (5W-30, 5W-20 and 10W-30) as well as "extended" grades such as 15W-50 and even 5W-50.
    There are also lower-cost synthetic "blends" that combine synthetic and petroleum-based oils in the same container. But you can do your own blend to save money by simply substituting a quart or two of synthetic oil for conventional oil when you change oil. Synthetics are compatible with conventional motor oils.
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    • Vehicles that are operated in extremely cold or hot climates
    • Anyone who wants the ultimate in lubrication and protection

Take care and good luck

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1 Answer

2000 dodge intrepid 140,000 miles uses 5w30 synthetic oil. today the oil light started coming on only at stop signs. pleae advise, thank you


It might be time to move to 10W30 oil in your 11 year old vehicle. Do you change your own oil? Try 3 qts 5W30 and 2 qts 10W30 of what you normally use.

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1 Answer

My car will not start in -7 degree C. is that cold enough outside for my car not to start ? When i plugged it then it starts. Can the antifreeze be too weak for this problem to arise or something else to...


19deg F is pretty cold.... but alone shouldn't prevent your vehicle from starting.

"Plugging in" the vehicle simply warms the engine oil in the block.

Look into changing your motor oil. It is the most likely culprit - not allowing the starter to turn the engine (like walking through mud)

I would suggest a synthetic oil if you are in this climate most of the year.

Better low temperature performance. Synthetics flow freely at subzero temperatures, pouring easily at -40 or -50 degrees F. where ordinary oils turn to molasses. This makes for easier cold starts and provides faster upper valvetrain lubrication during the first critical moments when most engine wear occurs.

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I have a 2007 Dodge Caliber with 48K miles on it & with the weather being 4-8 degree in the morning hours I have a hard time getting the car started?? It seems like it is not getting gas or maybe the cold...


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