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Discussion Starter #1
Got to -30 last night and is -18 now. This morning when I went to start my car and opened the door both blinker lights were full on, not flashing. Turned the ignition and the engined tried for a few seconds and then rapidly clicked. Afterwards it kept trying to start by itself and clicking. Eventually it stopped doing this. Now I have it charging with a slow trickle battery charger while I’m at work to see if that will get things going later when I get home. The car not starting because it doesn’t have enough battery charge or the oil is too cold makes sense to me, what doesn’t make sense is all this electrical nonsense happening. Does anyone have any ideas what the problem could be here?
 

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If the battery froze, and created an internal short, I can see the problems you had occur. I would be surprised if you battery is not completely fried.
 

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If the battery froze, and created an internal short, I can see the problems you had occur. I would be surprised if you battery is not completely fried.
You’re saying the short could have happened inside the battery? Would that cause damage to the cars electronics?
 

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You’re saying the short could have happened inside the battery? Would that cause damage to the cars electronics?
It could potentially. Getting the battery checked would be my first thing to do, and moving the car into a warmer garage if possible to check on things..
 

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It could potentially. Getting the battery checked would be my first thing to do, and moving the car into a warmer garage if possible to check on things..
No garage to move it into unfortunately and I can’t drive it to a friends place either since I can’t get it started. Just going to have to replace the battery and see where I’m at.
 

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Don't be too quick to give up on the battery. Pull it and bring it indoors to warm it up. Then, put the charger on it and see how it goes. This extreme cold can do weird things to electronics due to weakened batteries. I live in Eagan and know what you're dealing with. My Sable sits outside and, if left to sit too long in below zero temps, all my dash warning lights stay lit after starting and won't go out until the car is warmed up and restarted. FWI...my routine last night...and, will be again tonight...is to warm the car up right before bedtime...wake up in the middle of the night and warm it up again...and, again first thing in the morning. Keeps a decent charge on the battery to enable it to start each time trouble free.
 

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And when you do bring the battery indoors, put it somewhere that if it did crack the case, the un-freezing acid doesnt cause damage to your Stuff.
 

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In weather that cold, sometimes the electronics in a car just won't work properly, whereas in normal temperatures, they will return to working order.


I have a friend who owned a mid 90s Mercedes. A few years back, the daytime temps in my town went as low as -20F. All sorts of weird stuff happened. He claimed that the volume button on his radio turned his windshield wipers on!! Can't confirm any of that, but needless to say, the car wasn't coping with the temps.


If you have other modes of transportation, I would say to disconnect the battery and wait for the weather to get back above zero, at least. Keep in mind though, I'm not a professional mechanic, this is just what I would do in your shoes based on my own experiences.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well the battery was frozen so I got a new one and now I can’t get my doors unlocked because I’ve never actually used the keys on the doors and the locks are all seized up. What a day!
 

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Back before the era of RKE, my father used to carry lock deicer with him for this reason. Funny, just for kicks I tried the lock cylinder on my current ride--seized up nice and tight. Thankfully, the battery was able to pop the lock.

Oh, the things we take for granted now.
 

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If you can run an extension cord out to the car, use a hair dryer or a heat gun on low power to try to heat up / thaw out the door lock so you can use your key to get in.
 

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If you can run an extension cord out to the car, use a hair dryer or a heat gun on low power to try to heat up / thaw out the door lock so you can use your key to get in.
I tried that but it was so cold that the hair dryer was just blowing cold air. Also my key would go in, it just wouldn’t turn. Anyways I ended up having AAA come and get it open. Lock mechanism was frozen so solid he couldn’t slim jim it open. He also popped an air bag trying to push the door open with it because the material didn’t hold up in the cold and also had a hard time pulling inner latch with his tool. Those locks were frozen hard. In the end he got it open and luckily didn’t bend my door at all using the air bag to pry it open.
 

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Silicone lube sprayed into the locks will keep them from freezing. Need just a little bit. Consider a engine block heater.
You can also gently heat the key on the stove using vise grip locking pliers, then insert into lock to thaw it out.
 

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It simply froze your battery and relays.
I'd suggest getting an electric blanket on that car when not driving it. Maybe an electric oil heater plug as well.
 

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Well the battery was frozen so I got a new one and now I can’t get my doors unlocked because I’ve never actually used the keys on the doors and the locks are all seized up. What a day!

I live in Minnesota too. I have found that WD-40 will defrost a lock and it has a very light lubricate for the lock. Just stick the nozzle in the key hole and give a quick squirt. I usually use WD-40 in the Fall on all my key locks and no longer have a problem with frozen locks. I remember standing outside heating a key and trying to use it to make a frozen lock work, ugh.

I used to use graphite but it just gummed up the lock when it was cold.


Good luck.
 
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