Does the cold weather affect your car’s battery?

The moment you turn on the ignition of your car, the entire functioning and running of your vehicle depends on the battery that is placed in your engine’s compartment. When it comes summers, the car batteries don’t have to function hard, but when the temperature dips and winter sets in, it’s this time of the year that your car battery is prone to failure.

A dilemma among the owners during this time of the year is how to turn your normal battery into a “car battery for cold weather”? But before this, it’s highly imperative to know what is it that causes so much trouble to your car battery during winters. First and the foremost reason is that during the cold weather, motor oil of the car’s engine becomes thicker, hence putting on additional pressure on the battery to provide power for starting the engine in that environment.    

Another factor that sends your car’s battery over the edge is the additional accessories. The already daunting engine, when accompanied by excessive and overweight modifications, adds on additional weight on the battery for functioning in the season that is not friendly for the car battery. Ever wondered why is it that most cases of battery failure are heard in winters? Well, the reason is that starting on the car engine in winters requires twice as much current as compared to what is needed in summers.  

Car batteries can wear out at any time of the year but the number of breakdowns is much higher in winters. Followed by summers, the hot internal temperatures that have already played havoc with the battery thus weakening it, further takes a toll in the frigid temperatures that completely wear it down. There are numerous other reasons that add on to the battery failure including:

  • In cold weather months, turning on the engines is harder because the oil within the engine turns thick and solidifies which further indicates that the battery would require more power and oil for doing the job than the usual. 
  • As the temperature falls down, the chemical reactions responsible for electricity and current slows down, making it cumbersome for the battery to generate even the normal energy. 
  • Speaking statistically, at a temperature of 32 degrees, a car’s battery drops by 20%. It is but natural to believe that at minus degrees temperature, the battery capacity would drop by 50%. This reduction in the capacity to generate power hampers the battery’s ability to start the car. 
  • Once the car is running, its battery is automatically recharging. However, in the colder season, the rate at which the battery recharges is slow, signifying that you would have to drive farther for completely recharging the battery and successfully restarting it the next day. 
  • In winters, one tends to run on the heater, the headlights, defroster, windshield wipers, and seat heaters, thus increasing the battery load and intensifying the pressure on the car battery. 

The next question that might strike many minds would be how to judge or understand the warning signs related to battery breakdown so that it is saved from bigger damage. Here are a few pointers that would help you make an informed decision.

  • When you turn on the engine, there’s a grinding or clicking sound.
  • When trying to bring the engine to life, your car cranks slowly.
  • When inoperative, the headlights dim but are bright when the cars running.
  • Last but not least, when safeguarding the car battery for cold weather; ensure it’s not more than three years old. 

Good thing is that there are ways you can safeguard car battery for cold weather before it breakdowns. Simply follow these checkpoints:

  • It’s highly significant that you undertake regular and periodic corrosion checks on the engine and in case you notice some, scrubbing it off with baking soda and water solution can work magic. 
  • Maintaining a warm battery is highly imperative. Henceforth, make sure your car battery is tightly fastened particularly when you’re driving on rocky terrains. 
  • In cold weather, make sure you park your car in the garage. 
  • For offering additional warmth to the car batteries during the cold season, there’s a battery blanket available that can be installed around it.  
  • Maintaining your car’s battery in summer is equally important. Since the heat can have an impact, your car’s battery can start giving you problems by the time its winters. 
  • There are batteries that come with caps. All you need to do is take them off to check that the fluid within is at least 5mm above the plates or within the levels as mentioned in the battery case. In case it’s low, refill it with deionized water but ensure there’s no spillage.  

Usual day to day activity should not simply be hampered because your car doesn’t start. With the above-mentioned list, you can keep your car battery for cold weather in check and running.

Sources: