How cold weather affects your car's battery
Its never too late to make sure your car is ready for winter, especially your car battery.
Winter temperatures can take a toll on your car’s battery, forcing it to work overtime during cold conditions.
Your car’s battery is essential to getting you moving, making care and preservation imperative for ensuring no one gets stranded in a car that won’t start during winter.
The battery is responsible for powering all electrical elements of a vehicle, with the primary role of sending power to the starter motor to start the engine.
According to NAPA Auto Parts, a car battery gets drastically more worn from winter temperatures. At 32 degrees Fahrenheit, a car battery loses about 35 percent of its strength. At 0 F, a car battery loses about 60 percent of its strength.
Operating at reduced strength, a car’s battery is tasked with powering the car’s entire electrical system, this including vital electrical engine control systems. During the winter, the engine’s motor oil becomes thicker, thus the battery needs to supply enough power to the starter motor to turn the engine over in that thicker, heavier environment.
A car’s engine is already daunting enough for a cold battery, although when adding up all other accessories that are being run by the car throughout the winter it’s more likely to send the battery over the edge.
Consider the constant need to blast the heat, the increased use of headlights during shorter winter days, a greater use in windshield wipers fighting road grim and the extended use of car chargers from accelerated phone battery loss. Failure to power these things down then tasks the battery with powering them on again.
Firestone Complete Auto Care helped to provide AccuWeather with a comprehensive list of simple and inexpensive measures to take during the winter to better protect your battery and yourself:
Eliminate human error
Power off all car accessories when the engine is not running.
Ensure interior car lights are all off before exiting the vehicle.
Keep battery clean
Perform periodic corrosion checks, and if you see corrosion, scrub it off with a baking soda and water solution.
Make sure the battery is tightly fastened, especially if you drive on bumpy roads.
Maintain a warm battery
When possible, store a car in a garage.
Consider purchasing a Battery Blanket that you can install around your car battery to provide extra warmth.
Get routine maintenance in the fall
The heat of the summer can also negatively affect your battery and alternator, making you more vulnerable to problems during the winter.
When it becomes time to replace your battery, make sure that you are installing a new battery with a cold cranking amp (CCA) rating that matches your vehicle manufacturer's suggested rating. It is also important to get your battery replaced every three to five years.
For more safety and preparedness tips, visit AccuWeather.com/Ready.