How Does Cold Weather Kill a Car Battery?

February 7, 2022 7:13 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

If you’ve ever walked outside in the middle of winter only to find that your car battery is dead, you’re not alone. While it can happen in any season, batteries tend to die more frequently in the winter as the temperatures get colder.

Continue reading to learn why this is and how auto electrical services can help ensure your battery doesn’t die this season.

Freezing temperatures

Cold temperatures slow the chemical reactions that occur inside your car battery. At 32°F, a car battery loses 35 percent of its strength and up to 60 percent when the thermometer hits zero. Take these precautions to prevent Mother Nature from affecting your battery:

  • Park in a garage: The less time your car sits out in the cold, the better. If you’re able to park inside a garage, do it. Plus, parking inside can save you the trouble of scraping ice or snow off your windshield each morning.
  • Charge it up: As we mentioned, your battery loses up to 35 percent of its power when the temperatures are below 32°F. If it’s cold out and your car’s having trouble turning over or the lights are dim, you should bring your car into an auto electrical services pro for a quick charge or battery replacement.

Human error

Drivers—not cold temperatures—are actually to blame for most battery failures. When it’s cold outside, we’re tempted to hop out of the car and run inside to warm up without completely shutting off the vehicle. The good news is that following these tips can keep your battery in tip-top shape:

  • Turn off all lights: Many cars have automatic lights that turn off after the vehicle is off for a few minutes; if yours doesn’t, double-check that you turned the headlights off before exiting your vehicle.
  • Turn electronics off: Your battery can power some electronics like the radio and GPS system even if the car isn’t running—but running those electronics can drain the battery in as little as 20 minutes. After you shut off your lights, make sure that all of your devices are off and unplugged.

Corrosion and loose cables

The positive and negative terminals on your battery stick up like two posts on the top of the battery, and each one has cables connecting them to your engine. These terminals tend to get corroded over time, and the cables can start to loosen as you put more miles on your car.

When either of those things happens, your battery has a harder time powering your car and can eventually die. Take a moment to inspect your battery, clean off any corrosion with a toothbrush and tighten up those loose connections this winter.

Visit our team today

If it’s been a while since you’ve brought your car in for auto electrical services, schedule an appointment with the mechanics at Rivergate Muffler & Auto Repair. Our team will check your battery to ensure it’s working and charge it up or replace it if it’s failing.

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