How to Keep your Car Battery from Dying in Cold Weather

a white suv with a dead battery due to cold weather

Car batteries weaken over time, but they are particularly vulnerable to freezing temperatures. The heat of the summer already puts a major strain on your battery and it will only get worse during winter. The colder it gets, the harder it is for your car battery to get enough energy to start your car. Does that mean you won’t be able to drive your car during winter? Well, here are tips on how to keep your car battery from dying in cold weather to make sure you don’t get stranded during this time of year.

You probably already know how long a car battery lasts, but there’s no way to be sure how much juice is left in your battery. So, how do you prepare your car batteries in cold temperatures? Here are 7 things you can do to ensure your car battery is in good running condition come winter:

1. Check your car battery before winter hits

Unlike phone batteries, your car battery does not indicate how much energy is left in it. However, you can check the age of your car battery. If your battery was made within 3 years upon checking, test your battery if it can:

  • Start your car without any issues
  • Turn on the lights brightly
  • Turn on electronics without any issues 

If your battery is older than 4 or 5 years, it may not have enough life to make it through winter. The best option at this point is to replace your battery. To know the age of your battery, you can look for the date code or sticker on the top or side of the battery. The format can differ between manufacturers. For example, if your battery was manufactured in December 2021, the date code could be written in the following format:

  • L21 or 21L (the letter is for the month and the number is for the year)
  • 12/21

Or you can just go to the nearest auto shop and have your batteries checked for any issues.

2. Turn on your car every day for at least 10 minutes

Does cold weather affect car battery? Unfortunately, it does. However, there are many ways to make your car battery last longer, and one of them is using your car every day. Keeping your engine running every day for at least 10 minutes not only warms the battery during winter but also recharges it at the same time. The more you use the battery, the more it is charged back to its full capacity. 

Note: If you’re having a hard time starting your car, it may be best to have it checked by a mechanic or get it replaced. That’s an early sign of a dying battery and running your engine won’t help bring a dead battery back to normal.

3. Park your car away from a cold environment

Cold weather and car battery do not go well together. Parking your car close to a cold environment during winter kills your already weakened battery. Make sure to park your car in these areas:

  • In your garage
  • Parking garages with a lot of traffic flow
  • Near heated equipment
  • Close to warm buildings
  • In spaces that can be reached by direct sunlight

4. Wrap your car battery in a thermal blanket

Can batteries freeze? Unfortunately, extremely cold temperatures can lead to a frozen battery. That’s why it is necessary to have a thermal blanket or a corrosion-resistant heat blanket as some will call it. This can be bought either thru in stores or online. But you can also do it your own way if you have enough time. 

All you have to do is wrap your car battery with a dry and thick towel after a long drive. In this way, your car engine will be warmed. Although some of the cars have an extra coating to keep the warmth of the engine. And most importantly, do not forget to take out the towel before starting the car again.

5. Keep your car battery charged

When the weather is too cold, a battery trickle charger may not suffice to keep your battery functioning. When the temperature drops too low, a typical car battery is only 65% effective in both recharging and starting an engine. 

A car battery demands recharging from time to time. But when the weather is cold, it is hard to recharge a battery and the alternator may not produce enough power to start the engine. So, the best thing to do is to visit a repair shop since they have the equipment for recharging or you may do it by removing the battery.

6. Keep your car battery clean

Part of car battery maintenance is checking the terminals for corrosion. Corrosion increases electrical resistance, which makes your battery work harder than necessary and drains faster than usual. Cleaning off corrosion can help prevent your battery from dying. You can either use basic household products or you can buy a cleaning solution. What’s important is you keep your battery clean to maximize its function.   

7. Wait for a couple of minutes before turning on car accessories

Once you get in the car in freezing weather, do not crank the engine immediately. Wait for a couple of minutes allowing the alternator to charge on its own. Even when getting out of the car, ensure that all have a need for power are switched off. This is especially important during winter to avoid any battery problems. This is how to protect a car battery in cold weather. 

Summary

It is crucial to keep your car battery properly maintained at all times. Make sure it is clean and fully charged, especially before winter hits. While cold weather has a chance of killing your battery, these tips above can help your battery last throughout the winter season and prevent you from getting stranded. 

However, if your car battery is too old, damaged, or corroded, consider replacing them. And remember, if you ever need the best battery replacement service in New Jersey, Neighborhood Roadside Assistance is always at your disposal.

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