Despite new glow plugs I still have trouble starting my diesel Peugeot in the cold. How do I fix it?

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Car Clinic: glowplugs

Q. I have trouble starting my 52-plate diesel Peugeot when it’s cold. A garage replaced the glow plugs but to no effect. Even so, it says it’s OK, despite the fact it can take 15 minutes of warming with a hairdryer to get the vehicle started on a frosty morning. Any ideas how to fix it?
BF, Swansea

A. Your garage is fobbing you off because clearly something is amiss. It sounds as if the engine is sucking in too much air. There could be many reasons for this but one common problem is that the fuel line connectors aren’t attached quite tightly enough, which means that moisture in the air will settle around the joins and when it’s really cold turn to ice. This can warp the seals, causing extra air to enter the system and making it hard to start in the cold.

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Removing the pipes, applying a little grease to the male part of the connection (grease, not silicone) and refitting the pipes should reseal them and stop water gathering there.

To confirm this diagnosis take your car to a diesel expert, who should be able to work through the likely causes rather than just replace parts at random. City Electro Diesel (, 01792 792 010) is in your area.

Sunday Times Driving car clinic expert: Dave Pollard

Dave Pollard has written several Haynes manuals and has tested just about every car-related accessory – read more from Dave here.

Email your question to or write to Car Clinic, Driving, The Sunday Times, 3 Thomas More Square, London E98 1ST, with a daytime phone number, your address and as much detail about your car as possible. We can’t reply in person, so don’t send original documents or SAEs. Advice is given without legal responsibility.