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Diesel Car - Trouble Starting


I purchased a 2012 Audi diesel when I was living in Texas and now I am back living in Iowa. I got a new battery three months ago, and I am having trouble getting it started, and the only reason I can sort is due to the cold. Oddly enough, this morning when it was 23 degrees, she fired right up. But now, no such luck. Any tips on having a diesel in a colder area? I thought that diesel cars were over this issue, but perhaps I am wrong.


The first thing a diesel engine needs to operate is compression.

Because without compression, it can’t start.


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Take it in to a good Audi shop and have it checked out. They drive diesels in cold weather all the time in Germany…

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I’m not a diesel guy, but I believe that in addition to good compression they need working glow plugs to get sufficient heat into the cylinders when cold and in the cold weather for combustion.

I think a good Audi shop is in order here.


Agree with moutainbike plus a good block heater

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You must turn the ignition switch to the run position and wait for the glow plugs to get hot before cranking the engine;

The proper procedure is to switch the key to the “On” position and wait for the yellow glow plug lamp to go out before cranking the engine. The amount of time you have to wait ranges from none whatsoever (if the coolant temperature is above 9 degrees C), to about 10 seconds (if the car has been sitting outside in -10 C for some time). If this is done, the engine normally starts with perhaps a second of cranking, even at -10 C. Owners have reported starting their engines at temperatures below -30 C, which is about -20 F. Better make sure the battery is healthy, at those temperatures - but that’s no different from any other car.

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Yeah, having put 480,000 miles on my diesel in Minnesota, fuel is very important. Most auto gas stations will mix their auto diesel with 1&2 for winter use but not always. So make sure you are using the proper mix. Also I always used fuel treatment to prevent gelling in the winter. Trouble starting though is likely related to the glow plug operation so have that checked out or as mentioned, make sure you are using the correct procedure. If it sits outside in Iowa though in December, January and February, might want to make sure you have an engine heater and plug it in.

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Sounds like it’s an intermittent problem possibly unrelated to the cold. Get it to a shop.