Why Car Batteries Fail In Cold Weather

During cold weather a big percentage of car breakdowns is connected to battery problems. Recent statistics gathered in February of this year shows that one AAA auto service on the east coast received a record breaking 12,000 calls for auto assistance, and over 5,700 of them were for dead car batteries.

Why are car batteries so frequently the source of these problems? Car experts say that as the weather temperature goes down, car batteries can lose about 60 percent of its power at zero degrees. If the temperature goes down to 32 degrees, the car battery loses 35 percent of its power.

If a car’s battery isn’t in top working order, and is already weak, the loss of these huge amounts of electrical power can easily make the battery inoperable. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Find out what you can do to prevent a dead car battery during cold weather.

Why Car Batteries Fail In Cold Weather

There’s a direct correlation between temperature and battery efficiency. As the temperature of the battery starts to go south towards freezing, the power output drops dramatically.

But in addition to this, the battery is more resistant to charging when driving. Since the cold weather usually means turning on the windshield wipers, heater, defroster, headlights, rear defroster, fans, heated seats, and other electrically powered devices, the power load on on a weak battery is severe

But all of these factors together and you have a scenario for a dead battery.

Remedies and Prevention

  • If your car battery is more than 5-years old and seems to struggle to start your car, it’s time to replace the battery and save yourself the hassle of being stranded on the road because of an old and worn out battery.

  • Make sure you turn off all the lights and any other electronics before you park your car. Even a trunk lid that isn’t closed activates the light and can drain a weak battery if left on overnight.

  • Some individuals like to use a trickle charger or battery tender to keep the car battery in an optimal charged condition while parked in the garage. That way, even if the temperature nears zero degrees outside, the battery will be ready to go at a moment’s notice.

  • Clean battery terminals will insure that your battery receives the proper current for charging. Corrosion on the terminals, which usually appear as a blue-white crust, acts as electrical resistance to current. Clean them off properly with instructions found on the Internet or at your local car service center.

  • Replace the battery for a new one before cold weather approaches. If your car has had problems starting, or you notice that your headlights are dimmer than usual, it could be due to a weak battery. Go to a service station and get a free battery check to see if it needs replacing.

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