Battery care tips when it’s cold – How to avoid premature death

By Max Anthony •  Updated: 04/04/21 •  3 min read

Winter is the best time to see how the car battery is doing. In the cold season, she often gives up the ghost due to the falling temperatures. This is noticeable in that the attempts to start the car are unsuccessful. But there are some battery care tips when it’s cold to avoid premature death.

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Care tips

battery care tips

The more the temperature drops, the lower the charging and supply capacity. At minus 17 degrees, the battery only has around 50 percent of its normal output. The colder engine takes longer to start and more energy to start. In addition, there are power consumers such as heating, lighting, blowers, and windshield wipers, so that the battery is particularly stressed. It is one of the greatest weak points, especially in winter, and causes numerous breakdowns. The reason, however, is not only the cold, but poor maintenance and replacement too late can lead to a failure of the car battery. Care tips include:

It is important to take care of the batteries and regularly check the fluid level, especially in winter. If the water level is below the target mark, it must be topped up with distilled water. Using ordinary water can cause debris to build up inside the car battery. Modern models are maintenance-free and cannot be topped up, only charged. If that is not enough, an exchange is due.

– The alternator and regulator must work correctly, otherwise the service life of the battery can be reduced. It is also important to continuously check the charging voltage of the car battery. Normally it is 13.8 to 14.4 volts during the charging process. The values ​​should not be above or below, because both damage the battery. An inspection is the best precaution.

– Unnecessary consumers are best switched off. The rear window heater, for example, only has to run until the car window is clear. A discharged battery takes around 25 minutes of continuous driving to fully charge. Short trips are therefore harmful. Here, as few consumers as possible should run at the same time. The music system is one of the big power guzzlers.

Warning: It is particularly serious when the lights on the car are on overnight. In this case, the car battery discharges completely and is permanently damaged. This deep discharge must therefore be avoided at all costs.

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How long does the car battery last?

battery care tips

There are many electricity consumers in modern vehicles that lead to frequent battery charging. Most of the batteries usually only last around five to six years. If you don’t replace them in time, you can run into problems in winter. The older the battery, the more susceptible it is to the cold. It is best to check in autumn whether it is still optimally functional. Tip headlight check: When it is dark, the car is parked in front of a wall with low beam, and the engine is switched off. If the light is weaker or flickering after a few minutes, it might make sense to replace it. If the vehicle is parked for a long time, the car battery should be disconnected or recharged regularly.

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Max Anthony

Max is a gizmo-savvy guy, who has a tendency to get pulled into the nitty gritty details of technology and cars. He attended UT Austin, where he studied Information Science. He’s married and has three kids, one dog and a GMC truck and a Porsche 911. With a large family, he still finds time to share tips and tricks on cars, trucks and more.