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1999 Kia Sephia starting problems

I have a 199 Kia Sephia and when it gets below zero weather it will normally not start and since it is a manual we are able to pull start it. I just changed the plugs and wires a couple weeks ago and am planning on putting in a brand new battery soon. Also I was told that I should use 5w oil in the winter since it isn’t as stiff when starting cold as 10w anything else it could be besides the starter being poor?

In unskilled automotive troubleshooting, there is something comparable to the game of, “Rock. Scissors. Paper.” It’s the game of chance called, “Battery. Starter. Alternator.” whenever an engine won’t start. Some people play all three parts ( battery change; starter change; alternator change) until they, maybe, get lucky. Right now, you’re playing the “Starter” part. Which will it be next (best guess), the battery or the alternator? And, after those? Oops! There’s not any more on the “guess list”, right now. Gotta add some!
Tell the symptoms of the attempt, and failure, to start, now. Does the engine crank (turn over) at what sounds like a normal rate? Is it any better when a jumper battery is used? Any other thing it does, or doesn’t do when trying to start it?

When it is cold it does not turn over as good and adding a battery booster doesn’t do anything either. Sometimes also it turns over and the starter “cuts out” and charging the battery when it’s cold only seems to help sometimes. The battery currently in the car was bought from a place that sells outdated batteries and it was used in a diesel truck and now it’s being used in my car. Probably the charge of the battery is not as good as it could be and it probably doesn’t have as much power when the engine is cold.

As batteries age they lose the ability to hold a sufficient charge at low temperatures. A battery may seem fine when it is warm, but as the temperature goes down the battery loses its’ ability to store the power needed to turn over the engine, and the engine needs more power to start it. Since you bought a used battery to begin with, you were already on the road to starting problems, and with the cold you have found them. Buy a new battery and you car should be happier. And do change to the 5w-30w oil (more likely what Kia recommends than straight 5w oil). It will provide better lubrication at low temps.

That is a classic battery issue. Certainly if that is the original battery it is due.

However I suspect you have a second issue in addition to the battery. When was the last time the spark plugs and wires were replaced (wires are not always replaced with the plugs.) I suspect they are due.

I replaced the plugs AND wires about two weeks ago so that can no longer be an issue.

I put in a brand new battery on Friday, but this morning when the temp is about -5 F it would not turn the motor over any better than the old battery. Is it possible that the starter doesn’t have enough torque for this motor when the car is sitting outside in - zero degree weather?

how slow is the motor cranking? You may have to switch to a lower viscosity oil, or add some sort of heater (oil pan heater, block heater, etc). Everything has to be optimal to start at that temperature, and it’s possible the car/battery/starter was not designed for that temperature. I’ve had several new cars in the past that would not start at that temp no matter what, however that was before fuel injection and computers.

I’m assuming the car starts fine at warmer temperatures.

Actually, switching oil would be the first thing I’d do. Synthetic may be a good bet.

The motor cranks over very slow, kind of like a low growl. Adding a heater wouldn’t do me much good since when I’m at college and my car is parked outside there is nowhere to plug it in. Yes it starts great at warmer temps.

sounds like: change oil to a good low viscosity synthetic. I think there is a 0-40 Mobile-1 that would be ideal.

If you don’t want to pay for the 0-40 ($4-5 per) you might try ordinary 5-30, but you may find it helps a bit, and have to switch to the 0-40 anyway.