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Why Do Car Batteries Fail During Cold Weather

by | Jan 26, 2021 | Battery, Battery testing, Safe Driving Tips, Winter Battery | 0 comments

Harsh weather, no matter hot or cold, are one of the biggest enemies of your car’s battery. Sure, most batteries can last around four to five years, but if the weather is too extreme, they may become weak sooner. There is a lot of science to explain why most batteries fail or die during the winter season. You can address some of these problems by yourself, while others require professional assistance. Before discussing why cold weather affects car batteries, let us understand how batteries work.

Car Battery – How does it Work?

A car battery’s main job is to get the engine up and running. Once that happens, your vehicle’s alternator will take over and run its electrical systems. Once you switch your car off, its battery provides power to its accessories like heating, AC, light etc, and it can discharge very quickly. Like most batteries, a car’s battery contains negative and positive electrodes.

There are numerous thin plates in each cell that work in unison to form twelve volts. Lead batteries often tend to fail if the discharge is too much. So, leaving your vehicle’s lights on could result in battery failure.

Car Battery and Cold Weather

Winters can be really harsh in some places, causing a lot of difficult to car owners. In many cases, batteries fail to start during cold temperatures. This is because they slow down the chemical reaction that happens in your battery to start the engine. Because of this, the battery requires double the current it would need to run your engine, which often reduces the battery’s life.

Tips to Get Your Car ready for winter

Mentioned below are some tried and tested tips that could prevent your car battery from failing during winter.

Park it Inside

Merely parking your car inside the garage can prevent its battery from damaging. When you park you vehicle outdoors, it is exposed too cold gusts of wind, which are quite detrimental for your battery. Ensuring the battery is safe from freezing temperatures will prevent its performance from deteriorating and may even increase its life.

Keep it Warm and Clean

Batteries are a lot like human beings in the sense that they need to stay warm during cold weathers. In case you do not have access to a garage, sheltering your car with a cover could be a decent alternative. It would also help if you did not open your car’s heater, lights and ignition right after turning on the ignition. It puts extra strain on your battery, and often causes it to fail.

Cleaning away the corrosion, grime, and dirt from the battery’s terminals could also up its performance. You can clean the terminals by dipping an old toothbrush into water mixed with baking soda.

Signs that Show a Car Battery is Weak

The signs mentioned below can help you determine if your battery is becoming weak:

– Your car backfires too much

– The headlights are dimmer than usual

– If your engine is becoming too sluggish, it could be because of a weak battery

– The starter is not getting enough power

– The engine is giving off a sulfur-like odor


Show it to a Professional

If you live in St Louis Park, Minnesota and want to get your car ready for the winter season, consider showing it to a seasoned auto repair service like D&D Autoworks. Once you schedule an appointment with them, they will get right on your case, examining your car’s battery and repairing it if necessary.