Cold winter temperatures can significantly reduce the lifespan of your car battery. Often, you may not realize your battery is depleted until your car refuses to start in freezing conditions. If you’re fortunate, you’ll be at home when this occurs.
Many drivers frequently find themselves stranded in work or store parking lots as temperatures drop and the sun sets.
Imagine if your car had a battery gauge similar to your cell phone. This way, you could monitor your battery’s charge level. While this may be wishful thinking, there are steps you can take to avoid needing AAA to jump-start a dead battery in sub-freezing temperatures.
Keep reading to discover how to maintain your car battery during cold winter weather.
Delay Activating Your Car Accessories
The allure of hopping into your car on a chilly winter morning and activating the seat warmers, cranking up the heater, and tuning into some radio tunes is undeniable. However, these accessories can impose a substantial strain on your battery when starting the car in cold weather.
Instead, allow the alternator a few minutes to charge the battery after starting the car before engaging the heater and other accessories. Aim to refrain from using unnecessary accessories, like the passenger seat heater, to conserve power and prevent further drainage of your battery.
Short Trips Impact Car Battery Life
The alternator is only able to recharge your car battery while the vehicle is in motion. If your trips consist of very short distances, such as from home to work or home to the grocery store, the alternator may not have sufficient time to replenish the battery.
Consider taking a longer route home or visiting a grocery store a few miles away from your usual one. As long as the driving conditions are safe and the roads are clear of snow and ice, the additional miles you cover will aid in maintaining the charge of your battery.
Parking Your Car
Whenever feasible, aim to park your car in a garage, be it a mall parking garage or your home garage, as this can contribute to the protection of your car battery. Though it may offer only a modest difference, the temperatures inside a garage are typically slightly warmer than subjecting your car to the freezing conditions outside.
If parking outside is unavoidable, endeavor to park in an area shielded from direct exposure to the wind.
Lift the hood of your car and inspect the terminals on your battery. Do you observe a white, powder-like substance on either the positive or negative terminals? This indicates corrosion, as internal battery cells can sulfate and generate material that flakes or sheds.
Corrosion on your battery creates resistance, causing the battery to exert more effort, especially during the cold winter months. To eliminate the corrosion, disconnect both terminals and use a mixture of baking soda and water, along with a damp cloth and a firm toothbrush, to delicately clean away the accumulated debris.
Before reconnecting, apply a small amount of Vaseline (petroleum jelly) to each terminal. This will serve as a protective seal against air and assist in preventing future corrosion.
Pre-Cold Season Battery Inspection
Swapping out a dead battery is much more convenient when done at your convenience, such as on a warm Saturday morning in the summer. In the cold winter months, car batteries become a hot commodity as individuals who neglected maintenance suddenly find their cars refusing to start.
Alternatively, you can bring your battery to a local mechanic who can use a handheld machine to assess its overall health. This quick process, taking about five minutes, is strongly advised to be done in the late summer or early fall months.
Invest in a Car Battery Charger
Batteries that are fully charged typically do not freeze until external temperatures drop to -72°F. However, partially charged batteries can freeze at a mere 32°F. If your battery seems a bit low on power, think about purchasing a car battery charger and connecting it to your battery. As an additional benefit, if your car fails to start one morning, you can bypass the inconvenience of calling AAA and instead use the charger to jump-start your battery.
Power1986: Your Car Battery Charger Purchasing Platform for Car, Truck, and RVs
At Power1986, for nearly 20 years, we have been committed to providing customers with high quality car battery chargers. Backed by our quality products, we are committed to developing and maintaining good and lasting client relationships. Contact us today to learn about Power1986 and our range of car battery chargers for both lead acid batteries and lithium batteries.