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Why Do Car Batteries Die In The Winter

March 3, 2021

Why Do Car Batteries Die In The Winter

There are only a few things more inconvenient than getting in your car on a cold day, ready to crank the heat for warmth, only to realize the battery is dead.

Many people think the cold weather is the culprit for dead batteries but the damage is actually done during the summer months. The hot temperatures cause corrosion and vaporize the electrolyte faster.

So, why do car batteries die in the winter?

A cold battery has reduced cranking power and cold temperatures thicken motor oil, making it harder to turn the engine over. Even new, high-end batteries can quickly degrade in frigid temperatures. If you start with a less-than-perfect battery (over 3 years old), cold weather can cause it to fail.

8 Signs Of A Failing Battery

Your battery light might not always illuminate to warn you it’s about to fail so here are 8 other signs to watch for:

  1. Engine cranks slower than usual
  2. White or light blue corrosion on the case or at the positive post
  3. Battery is more than three years old
  4. Headlights dim yellow instead of white
  5. Electronic accessories fail
  6. Car horn sounds unusual
  7. Battery case is swollen or cracked
  8. You smell sulfur or rotten eggs 

There are several things you can do to prevent getting stuck with a dead battery on a cold day.

1) Check the current age and condition of your battery – Some brands use a numeric date, others use a code with a letter for the month and a number for the year. So “A8” would mean “January 2018” while “H9” would mean “August 2019.” If your battery is over 3 years old, we recommend you have your battery tested.

2) Inspect and remove signs of corrosion – While cleaning the battery, also check to be sure your battery is properly placed in its slot.

If you’re not sure about the condition or placement of the battery, bring it into an auto repair shop like ABS Unlimited. A trained mechanic can check the condition of the battery to make sure it’s in good working condition and able to survive a cold winter.

an image of battery corrosion

3) Turn off accessories when you start the car and when it idles – When you first start your car, give your car battery a few minutes to warm up before turning on the radio, turning on the heat and other accessories. The same applies when your car is idling. These accessories pull power from the alternator, which can stop the battery from functioning properly.

Not sure about battery maintenance and winterizing? 

You can bring your car to ABS Unlimited to have a skilled mechanic do a thorough inspection. We can check the age and power of the battery, clean away corrosion and identify any problems with your battery.

In the event that you need a new battery, we will help you choose the best one for your needs and budget. We sell NAPA and Interstate batteries. All batteries purchased at ABS Unlimited come with a warranty and limited-time free replacement. Click Here To Schedule An Appointment