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The Effect of Cold Weather on a Car Battery

Posted on February 16, 2018.

In the winter, car batteries discharge quicker than they do in the summer because it is cold outside. You may know that batteries lose capacity as the temperature drops. However, you may not know why this happens.

Car batteries create an electric current when a connection is made between its positive and negative terminals. The beginning of this process involves a chemical reaction that occurs more slowly in the cold. As a result, the battery produces less current than it would in warmer weather. Often, this means that the battery isn’t producing enough current to meet your cars needs, which means that your car takes what it can get until the battery runs down.

The cold weather also strains your battery in other ways, such as when thickening motor oil makes the battery work harder. Those who don’t do a lot of driving are also more likely to experience issues. If you only drive short distance or don’t regularly start your car, the battery will lose strength quicker than someone who drives long distances all the time. Not helping matters is that, even when turned off, cars these day still draw power from the battery for antitheft systems and standby electronic features.

The good news is that a battery discharged because of the cold weather isn’t garbage. Once the battery is warmed up, it will operate normally. Obviously, this won’t work in situations where the cold weather is not responsible for your battery troubles.

To lessen the effect of cold weather on your battery, it’s recommended that you start your car every few days. You’ll want to drive it around town for 15 minutes or more. Not only will this benefit your battery, but it will also benefit your cars other components because it’s not good for your car to sit in the garage for long periods of time, regardless of the weather outside.