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How to prevent your car battery from dying this winter

on October 19, 2021
featured image - How to prevent your car battery from dying this winter

How to prevent your car battery from dying this winter

on October 19, 2021

Introduction

During winter, you stay indoors, probably drink a lot of tea, dress warm, etc. But what about your car’s battery? How do you ensure it stays healthy?

While that may seem like an odd question, it is a completely logical one! Car batteries do not like winter weather. It is not favorable for their overall optimal functioning. So what can you do to ensure you keep your battery from dying this winter?

In this article, we look at how extreme cold weather affects your battery. We also look at what you can do to keep your battery healthy in winter.

Why your car battery dies in winter

Before we get into why a car battery dies in winter, it’s important to understand how a battery works.

Your car battery consists of energy cells and a chemical solution that contains lead-acid. When you turn on your car, these two work together to produce enough energy to get your car systems operational.

During winter, this chemical reaction in your battery is affected negatively! It happens slowly. On the other hand, the opposite is true in warm or hot weather. The reaction happens a lot faster. This then means that less power is needed to transfer voltage to the starter and enable stability.

To put this into perspective, when the temperature is 32°F, your car’s battery loses approximately 35% of its strength. When it’s 0°F, the battery can lose 60% of its power. For an engine to run successfully, it needs about twice this power.

In winter, temperatures can go a lot lower than 0°F. Imagine the impact that this will have on the health of your battery! And how harder your battery would have to work to get your engine up and running.

How to prevent your car battery from dying this winter 

Get your battery checked before winter hits

With your car battery, always take the side of caution!

Just before winter begins, take your car to a trusted battery dealer or mechanic. A battery test is usually offered for free across most repair shops in the country. If you are a DIY mechanic, you can test your battery yourself using a trusted auto battery tester.

The test aims to identify any potential weakness in your battery and to tell which temperature can cause it harm. If there are any issues, get them dealt with immediately, or before winter begins. If you wait for winter, the repair may prove too expensive or difficult to undertake in time.

You can visit obdadvisor.com for more tips on how to diagnose and check your car using diagnostic tools.

Watch your battery-draining accessories

During this period, you want your battery to use power only on what is essential! You don’t want to overwork it.

As such, accessories that use battery power such as power access points, or even a cigarette lighter may put unnecessary strain on your battery. We advise that if you don’t have to use them, then don’t. 

Park in a garage or underground parking

Just like you are staying indoors in the coming winter, consider the same for your car.

Where to park your car in the winter depends on the health of your battery. If it was weak, you will need to park it in warmer places so that it does not completely die. If it was healthy, a garage will do, somewhere it is not directly exposed to snow or extremely cold weather.

The general make-up of a battery ensures that it has a polypropylene casing that provides thermal protection. A fully charged battery will still lose power in winter but not so much that it can’t operate. A half-charged battery or lower, could freeze and turn into an ice block.

To avoid this, park your car in warm areas e.g. your garage or an available underground parking spot.

Drive for 10 minutes or longer each day

Probably the easiest way to keep your battery from dying, drive!

While driving, your engine warms the battery. We recommend that you drive for between 10 to 20 minutes each day. You do this to keep energy levels in your battery high by moving acid around. By doing this, you prolong the life of your battery.

Keep your battery clean

When it’s cold, components in your car’s battery can thicken, making the battery strain. Over time as you drive, your battery will also pick up dirt. Add this to the thickened engine oil and there will be increased resistance. As such, it is advisable to keep your battery clean.

We recommend checking your battery several times a month for any signs of corrosion around your battery terminals. It will be confirmed by the presence of a white substance. Cleaning is not difficult, and neither is it expensive!

You can do it in your home by use of baking soda, a toothbrush, and a cloth.

Corrosion in your battery will affect its performance. It could also lead to other damages such as destructive effects to components around it. A weak battery could interfere with your travel plans during winter. You should be on the lookout for anything that could affect your battery’s health as this period nears.

Invest in a battery charger & a battery blanket

Just like you plan on keeping warm, plan on keeping your battery warm too!

The best product to use is the battery warmer or an insulator. These are common in auto shops around the country and are not that expensive. These battery blankets are corrosion-resistant and so they keep your battery safe.

Another homemade option would be covering the battery with a dry, thick towel-like piece of clothing after your drive. You do this to retain the engine heat. Remember to remove the cloth before you start on your next journey.

You can also consider purchasing a battery charger which helps to maintain the battery of vehicles that don’t get used daily. It ensures that your battery is fully charged before driving and avoids deep discharges. 

Conclusion

Just as you prepare for winter, you should prepare your car for it too. Ensuring your battery is taken care of during this period will save you a lot of time and possibly money. And as discussed above, it is neither difficult nor expensive. It just requires extra care and regular checkups. You’ve got this!

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