COLD WEATHER AND CAR BATTERIES
Car batteries can die at any time, but cold temperatures cause more breakdowns in the winter. Think about it: cold winter temperatures follow the hot summer, when high internal temperatures weakened the car battery. Once it’s put to the test in frigid temperatures, the beating it took in the summer will take its toll. Cold weather causes car batteries to die for several reasons:
Reduced capacity: At 32 degrees, battery capacity drops by 20 percent. At -22 degrees, capacity drop by 50 percent. This capacity reduction lowers the battery’s power output, impeding its ability to start the car.
Thicker engine oil: Cold temperatures make engine oil begin to solidify, making the engine more difficult to turn over. This forces the battery to work even harder at a time when capacity is at its lowest.
Reduced recharge rate: When you drive your car, the battery automatically recharges. However, the recharge rate is slower in lower temperatures, meaning you need to drive further to fully charge the battery for a successful restart.
Load increases: You tend to run your headlights, heater, windshield wipers, defroster and seat heaters more in the winter, increasing battery load and exacerbating the reduced recharge rate problem.
HOW TO PROLONG CAR BATTERY LIFE
You can’t control the weather, but you can still take certain steps to prolong car battery life.
Keep the battery clean. Dirt acts as a conductor, which drains life from the battery. Corroded terminals also increase insulation and inhibit current flow.
Invest in a modern battery conditioner/intelligent charger. This is most beneficial if you tend to only drive around town or leave your car standing for days at a time. A battery conditioner prolongs battery life without overcharging it.
Turn off everything in the car when you park. Headlights drain a battery the fastest, but interior lights and the radio can also kill the battery if left on for hours.
If your battery is the type that needs to be topped off, check it regularly during the summer and add distilled water when needed.
WHEN TO REPLACE YOUR BATTERY
Watch for certain signs of a weakening battery to prevent becoming stranded. Consider replacing your battery or having it checked if you notice these signs.
Headlamps and interior lights appear dimmer than usual.
In-car accessories fail to operate. The “check engine” or “battery” light is illuminated.
The battery is more than five years old and it struggles to start the car in freezing conditions.
At Mighty Tune and Brake, we offer car battery tests to put your mind at ease or let you know it’s time to buy a new battery.
It’s certainly much more convenient to replace a dying battery during an appointment than to get stranded somewhere once the battery dies. When you replace the battery, be sure to choose one with a rating equal to or higher than the original. We can help you make the right selection.
To learn more, or to schedule an appointment to have your battery and starting system tested contact us at 604 536 9443
Unit 100 – 2428 King George Blvd. Surrey
604-536-9443 | www.mightytuneandbrake.com