What to Do about Your Vehicle’s Battery in Cold Weather

Your car or truck’s battery is something you usually don’t think about—until it’s dead, that is. Cold temperatures can seriously hurt your vehicle’s battery, causing it to lose charge or go dead altogether. In fact, at 32℉, your battery could lose as much as 35% of its charge, and up to 60% at 0℉. There’s nothing worse than turning your key on a frigid winter morning and realizing your battery is dead. If your vehicle’s battery is on the edge of being drained and temperatures fall near zero or subzero, you could have trouble starting your engine. How do you avoid your battery going dead in cold weather? Here are a few tips and options from the Best Deal Springs team.

1. Know the Warning Signs

It could be possible to predict battery problems and avoid letting your battery go dead in the first place. Batteries are designed to last 3-5 years under good conditions, so if your battery is getting old, you could be in trouble if temperatures get very cold. If you notice your engine cranking slowly when you turn the key, your battery’s charge could be getting low, indicating more problems are right around the corner. Also, if you see your headlights or dash light dimming when your engine is idling while getting brighter when you rev your engine, your battery might be losing charge. While these warning signs indicate an issue, they’re not a fail-safe. It’s important to note that battery problems won’t always cause noticeable issues, so your battery could go dead without warning in cold weather.

2. Park Your Vehicle in a Garage

This suggestion is not going to work for everyone, every vehicle, or in the most extreme cold conditions. However, if you’re able to park your car or truck in a garage, ambient temperatures won’t be quite as cold as they would be outdoors, which can make a difference in your battery’s performance. Unfortunately, we recognize that this simply isn’t an option in many cases, especially for people who don’t have a garage, night-shift workers, and truckers. If a garage isn’t an option, try to park your vehicle out of the wind or facing away from the prevailing wind direction to limit your battery’s exposure to wind-chill.

3. Unplug Chargers & Other Devices

Chargers, GPS navigation devices, and other devices that plug into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter socket are incredibly convenient, but they can cause problems when temperatures fall. Some vehicles allow these devices to continue pulling power when your engine is not running, even if nothing’s on or being charged. In these cases, an electronic accessory can drain a battery, and extreme cold temperatures will accelerate the process. You may be able to leave everything plugged in when it’s warm, but consider unplugging as a precaution when temperatures fall.

4. Give Your Battery Time to Charge

Your vehicle’s alternator is essentially a small electricity generator that’s driven using a small amount of power from your engine. However, it’s important to note that your alternator can’t charge your battery if your engine is only running for a few minutes at a time. This means quick trips around the neighborhood or close-by shopping can actually drain your battery. To ensure your battery is charging enough, it’s best to keep your engine running at least 20-30 minutes, when possible.

5. Use a Battery-Based Jump-Starter

Even if you’ve taken the proactive steps above, it still might not be enough. If your battery has gone dead in the cold weather, the simplest thing to do is often to jump-start your vehicle. But, if another running vehicle is not around to give you a jump, you could be out of luck. That’s why battery-based jump-starters are a great accessory to consider. Just remember to keep them indoors and not in your vehicle! Best Deal Springs offers a variety of quality battery-powered emergency jump-starters, for even the largest vehicles. Just get in touch with us, and we’ll talk you through your options.

6. Use a Battery-Warmer or Trickle-Charger

If you have access to a wall outlet near where your vehicle is parked, you could consider using an electric battery-warmer or battery blanket, which is wrapped around your battery and heated electrically. You can also use a trickle-charger to use power from the grid to charge your battery while it’s parked. Either device will keep the liquid chemicals in your battery warm enough to hold a charge in extreme cold. Call one of our locations today and ask us about our selection of battery-warmers and trickle-chargers for your car, truck, SUV, or semi rig.

7. Bring Your Battery Inside

Perhaps the simplest solution to battery problems in extreme cold is to disconnect it and bring it into your heated interior environment. However, this isn’t always an option, as many vehicle’s batteries are tough to access or require tools you might not have convenient. Bringing your battery inside will also force you to spend more time out in freezing temperatures as you’re removing and reinstalling it. But, if you really need to make sure your vehicle starts in the morning or at the end of your shift and you don’t have access to a jump-starter, battery-warmer, or trickle-charger, it’s certainly an option to consider.

8. Just Call Us!

The very best option is to be fully prepared for the possibility that your vehicle’s battery could go dead in very cold weather. Just give us a call today and talk to our friendly, knowledgeable staff members. We’ll be happy to help you find the right products to prepare yourself for winter driving.

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