CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2000 Ford Taurus SE won't start in cold

We have a 2000 Ford Taurus SE, ~115k miles, that refuses to start in cold temperatures (below freezing). The car turns over like a champ, but never ‘catches’. We’ve had it in to a local mechanic who replaced the fuel filter, spark plugs, and battery (it was frozen). Immediately after this service, the car seemed to work okay. It then stalled once at a light (something it has never done before), and then a couple days later was back to not starting. I should note that for 2 winters we had it in a garage overnight, and it never exhibited this problem. Every winter other than those 2, this problem has been present. Any ideas?

You deserve an answer, but I don’t have one. This will bump you back to page one where someone might see it that has an answer.

Appreciate the bump, thanks. Thought I’d just reiterate that, when the temps are above freezing, the car behaves very well. I imagine this is sort of a mechanics’ nightmare, since having the car in any garage for more than 15 minutes would probably make the problem disappear.

Have you tried stepping on the accel pedal just a tiny bit?

Thanks for the suggestion. We have tried that, and there’s no discernible difference in car behavior

When you want to start the engine, turn the ignition key to ON (or, RUN) for three seconds, OFF, RUN, Off, START. If this helps, fuel pressure may be the cause of the problem.
Your mechanic needs to check fuel pressure, and spark. He, also, needs to check the coolant temperature sensor.
Further, he could read some of the many responses, here in this forum, to people who have engine start problems.

My friend had what sounds like the same problem. Hers was the coolant temp sensor. She got it fixed and changed to new fresh coolant it worked for her. Good luck!:-/