AutosBeating the freeze. Simple tricks to keep your car battery running in cold weather

Beating the freeze. Simple tricks to keep your car battery running in cold weather

The battery handles low temperature poorly.
The battery handles low temperature poorly.
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9:54 AM EST, January 8, 2024

Ever wondered why car batteries tend to die in the cold? This happens due to chemical processes inside the battery. The optimal temperature for a battery is about 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit. Under such conditions, the battery operates at a total of 100% efficiency. However, as the temperature decreases, the electrochemical reactions slow down, resulting in a loss of efficiency.

It's generally accepted that at around 14 degrees Fahrenheit, a battery's efficiency drops to about 80%. In extreme cold, this can fall to about 50-60%.

Yet, the efficiency drop is not the only issue during freezing temperatures. A cold engine is more complicated to start, becoming quite resistant, and a starter doesn't function with the same power it does in favorable temperatures. All these factors significantly strain the battery in cold weather, which can ultimately drain it. Nonetheless, a straightforward trick can help you get your car started in the cold.

Experienced drivers recommend turning on the lights for several seconds before turning the key. The goal is to 'wake up' the battery before it's hit with a heavy load. Consequently, the electrochemical processes begin before, not during, the engine start-up. Remember to turn off the lights before you start the car.

If your battery struggles during frosty mornings, if you frequently need to charge it, or if your car is primarily used for short distances, employing a method from a few decades ago might be helpful. This method involves removing the battery and bringing it inside overnight, allowing you to enjoy the full performance of a warm device after reinstallation in the morning.

Granted, this approach requires you to allocate additional time and master installing and removing the battery. However, a warm battery will handle starting the car in the morning better than one left out in freezing temperatures all night.

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