How Do I Keep My Car Battery From Dying in Cold Weather

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Do you experience difficulties starting your vehicle in cold weather? Not only is this a great inconvenience, but it can also be a safety issue. There are many ways to help prevent this annoying problem. However, there could be several reasons your battery won’t start your vehicle in cold weather.

Some Common Reasons Why Your Vehicle Battery Dies in Cold Weather

Reason Why

There are several reasons why your vehicle battery dies in colder weather conditions. One reason is that vehicle batteries, during cold weather, produce much less electrical current. This means the chemical reaction is much slower than say on a summer day. A battery that has been sitting out in the cold will produce less power than a warm battery. This can be the beginning of your vehicle starting issues. Cold weather also slows down the flow of your engine oil. This puts a great amount of strain on your battery. Your battery may also be getting old and its performance level has dropped. The battery leads are dirty or loose. Always disconnect the negative lead first. And always connect the negative lead last.

What do I do When My Car Won’t Start in the Cold Weather?

Cars and cold weather

You can try starting your vehicle again when everything is turned off. This gives the battery a chance to work on just starting the vehicle. Engaging electrical accessories draws power from the battery. The battery has to work harder in the cold weather. If your vehicle does start, make sure to let it run a while before turning on accessories. Sometimes dipping your clutch slightly as you simultaneously start the car may work. Top up your engine oil; this creates less work for the battery. Perhaps jumpstarting your vehicle may work.  If all these measures have failed, you will require help. Call your local Automobile Association. If you have Roadside Assistance, call them.

Tips on Keeping Your Car Battery Warmer in Cold Weather

Jump starting car Battery

There are many things that you can do to protect your vehicle battery from extreme cold weather.

  • You can store it in a garage.
  • Store it in a carport protecting it from cold, blistering wind, snow and ice.
  • Keep your gas tank topped up. It takes 40% more fuel to start a vehicle during the cold weather than the warm weather. Ensure you are using the correct oil for your vehicle.
  • There are also some specialized oils that you can use in the winter months.
  • You can also cover your vehicle battery with a thermal battery blanket.
  • In extremely cold weather is it recommended to purchase and use a block heater.

What is the Strength of My Battery During Cold Weather?

Indicator

During 32 degree temperatures, your battery works at approximately 65% of the battery strength. During temperatures close to zero, your battery works at approximately 40% of its strength. This is why it is so important to make sure your battery is in good working order before winter. Have your battery tested monthly to keep an eye on it.

Tips on How to Maintain Vehicle Batteries

Maintenance Free Car Battery

The battery life on a vehicle usually lasts for approximately 5 to 7 years.

  • Follow the maintenance schedule as per your owners manual. This will help keep your battery in good working order. You can also do things yourself in between maintenance visits.
  • Check your battery frequently.
  • Clean them, wiping away any erosion that you see.
  • You can also charge them if you don’t use your vehicle frequently.
  • Before removing your vehicle battery, take a picture of it. This will help to ensure you reinstall it correctly.
  • A non-maintenance-free well cell type will have to have it’s water level checked. This should be done every 2 to 3 months.
  • Make sure all the battery caps are in place. It should also be done by a professional. If you choose to do it yourself, always use distilled water. Use a funnel and never overfill. An absorbed glass matt battery should never be opened.

Cleaning the Battery Terminals

Approximately every 6 months you should clean your battery terminals. This is done by first disconnecting the connectors. Make a paste of distilled water and baking soda. Dip a wire brush into the paste and gently scrub the terminal. This will remove any dried acid that has built up. Replace the terminal connectors using terminal spreaders only. High-temperature grease should be applied to the battery. This will aid in rust and corrosion protection.

Check the Battery Voltage

It is a wise idea to check the cell voltage of the battery regularly. This can be done when you are having your car serviced. It can also be done when you have your oil changed. A charge of 12.5 volts to 12.6 volts will indicate a full charge. Your battery must be fully charged for an accurate charge level.

Battery Insulator

Some vehicles are equipped with a battery insulator. This protects the battery from drying out when temperatures are high. Inspect the battery insulator for damage and correct positioning.

Regular Servicing

Take your vehicle for regular maintenance appointments. This will ensure that your battery is inspected regularly. This should be done every 3 months or every 4,800 kilometers. Before winter sets in have your vehicle inspected.

Start Your Vehicle Regularly During Cold Temperatures

If you do not use your vehicle often during the winter months, start it up often. Even if your vehicle is in an unheated garage, start it often. The cold temperatures can weaken your battery. Start your vehicle up and let it run for a while. This will allow the battery to charge and liquids to warm. Warming the oil will help with its proper flow.

Storing a Vehicle During the Winter

Street Parked Cars in Winter

If you plan on storing your vehicle during the winter, always remove the battery. Store the battery in a dry cold but not freezing location. Use a battery charger frequently to keep the battery charged. This will protect the battery during this time. Leaving the battery in place during winter storage will result in a dead battery.

Resources:

https://blog.firestonecompleteautocare.com/batteries/tricks-to-keep-car-battery-charged-in-cold/
https://www.holtsauto.com/holts/news/what-to-do-when-your-car-wont-start-on-a-cold-morning/
https://www.wikihow.com/Maintain-Car-Batteries
https://www.quora.com/How-long-will-a-new-car-battery-last-if-it-is-never-used
https://batteryworld.varta-automotive.com/en-gb/how-store-car-battery
https://www.lifewire.com/keep-your-car-battery-from-dying-534619
https://patch.com/virginia/vienna/dead-car-battery-cold-weather-electronics-may-be-to-blame-aaa-says