Cold Weather Car Battery Tips

cold weather car battery

You prep your tires for snow and winter, but do you check your battery? This may be why your car won’t start in cold weather.

Batteries lose 50% of their power when the temperature drops to zero. Try these cold weather car battery precautions so you don’t get stuck.

Turn the Power Load Off

This tip starts when you turn your car off. Do a check and turn everything off before you turn the car off.

Turn off the radio, climate control, heated seat, and anything else that is running. These functions pull power from the battery when you start your car.

In warm weather, your battery can power the ignition and other functions with no problem. In winter these pulls on the battery may become overwhelming.

Garage Your Car

As temperatures approach zero, your battery’s power output decreases. A brand new battery functioning at 100% capacity reduces to 50%.

So your battery that is two to three years old will function at an even lower capacity. Putting your car in the garage will reduce the windchill factor on your battery.

The garage will provide a buffer from the natural elements. Do not idle your car in the garage to warm it up. The toxic exhaust fumes could enter your home.

Clean You Battery

Corrosion is one of your battery’s worst enemies. It will render a full capacity battery inoperable.

Use a wire brush to scrub around each of the terminals. Next, remove the positive and negative cable connections.

Use a mixture of 1 cup water and 2 teaspoons of baking soda to clean the terminals. Once the corrosion is removed, wipe everything clean.

Buy a corrosion protectant to spray on the battery when you’re done. Finally, reconnect the cables. Always connect the positive cable first.

Test It

The best way to prevent a battery failure is to replace your old battery before it happens. If you have a battery that is two to three years old, test it before the cold weather comes.

Use a multimeter to test the voltage output of the battery. Connect the red (positive) and black (negative) leads to the multimeter.

The red lead goes in the “V” terminal. The black lead goes in the “COM” terminal.

Connect the leads to the corresponding positive and negative terminals on the battery. Set the voltage scale to 20V on the multimeter.

Turn the multimeter on and read the measurement. If your battery reads between 12.4 and 12.6 volts, then your battery needs a recharge. If your battery is reading below 12.4, you should replace it.

Cold Weather Car Battery Problems Fixed

Don’t let a cold weather car battery problem plague you. Test your battery before the temperatures drop.

Replace your battery if it doesn’t produce enough voltage. Corrosion will contribute to a car not starting in cold weather so clean your battery.

Turn off all extra functions to create less load on the battery. Finally, keep your car in the garage to reduce the strain of the cold weather elements.

Read this guide to know how to replace your old battery.