96 civic winter starting problem again

Jim Garcia

New Member
this car always runs great until winter hits 20 degrees or colder so every year about his time i make sure to start and run it for 10 min every day.. last night 10 below it started and ran great on the way home from work, this morning it was 26 below so it would crank but no start for the first time since last year! last winter same thing but i would take all the plugs out and crank it over a few times install plugs and started and ran fine.. its like lifters are bleeding down ? not this time, still cranks almost catchs on but doesn't, when plugs are pulled they are wet with gas, i hear the fuel pump when trying ? when i pull the plugs and crank it i thought i was pumping up the lifters but i was told it doesn't have lifters. any ideas ?? thanks


5+ Year Member
sorry haven't been around for a while, or i would've replied sooner...
My guess is you have an ignition issue, and you're not getting sufficient spark...
pulling plugs is the age old deflooding trick...

I had a similar issue due to faulty seal in the distributor cap.
every time i'd go through the car wash, my car would start sputtering, and then die. wouldn't restart for a while, because water was getting into the distributor cap.

same could happen when it's really cold, when the car is warm, moisture gets in there, and can't get out.
now you have a cycle of condensation, frezing, and re condensing...

Luckily, easy to check. just pop off the distributor cap and take a look.


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-20 degrees will cause the oil to become incredibly thick making cranking very difficult.

You need to invest in a block heater for the oil pan. The residual heat will also heat up the engine block close to freezing making cranking in Arctic environments much easier.


5+ Year Member
I've lived in minnesnowta for 20 years, and i'm even further north now...

My civic has always been parked outside, and never had any trouble starting, even at -30. just don't drive it until it's fully warmed.
now the battery, that's a different story. Typically only had one chance.

Block heaters are helpful, but only if you're lucky enough to park someplace where there's an outlet handy.
99.9% that's never been an option for me.