Don't Let Cold Weather Air Crush Your Car Battery

The staff at Lynch Ford Chevrolet doesn’t just sell and service cars—we also drive them every day just like you, so we know that a dead car battery is never convenient, especially when it strands you out in the elements. Even though the hot summer months put the most demand on your car’s battery, cold winter conditions are more likely to expose an already weak battery.

How do batteries work?

Most consumer cars use lead-acid batteries, one filled with electrolyte liquid and lead plates. Together, these component create an electrochemical reaction that produces an electric charge to the battery terminals on top, which your car then uses to start the engine. Like all chemical reactions, warm temperatures can speed up the reactions and cold temperatures can slow them down. This is why batteries can experience greater internal corrosion in the summer months and sluggish starts in the winter.

How does cold weather affect battery performance?

At colder temperatures, a battery’s ability to provide sufficient power to start and run a vehicle can be diminished. Battery manufacturers use a special rating for automotive batteries to show how well they can handle cranking in the cold: Cold-Cranking Amperage or CCA. This is the amount of current a battery can deliver in 30 seconds without dropping too low. A fully charged car battery should survive as low as -58°F, but an older or poorly charged battery can freeze at 33°F, higher than water!

How to keep your battery safe

Car batteries start to reach their end of service life after three years, so pay close attention to your battery’s performance at this time. If you notice sluggish sounds when starting your car, check to make sure your battery’s terminals are clean and secure. If the connections look good and you still experience slow starts, it may be time for a replacement. If you live in an area with extremely cold temperatures, you can use a plug-in engine or battery warmer to prevent freezing when the engine is off. You can also disconnect your battery and bring it inside to keep it warm during longer periods of disuse.

If you’re concerned about your car battery’s health, we can check it for you. Our service technicians at Lynch Ford Chevrolet know exactly what to look for to maintain the highest vehicle health. Come into our service department or schedule a checkup online today

Categories: Service