As winter is knocking at the door, your concern regarding your car can increase too for various reasons. It is a common scenario that a car stops working properly during winter. We see many cars parked on the roads and covered in snow mostly because of a failed battery.
The major reason for a car failing is the battery of your car. Conventional batteries are not made to resist cold. During winter, you should use cold-resistant batteries for your vehicle. We have made things easier for you. We have created a list of the best car battery for cold weather.
This is a complete guide about winter car batteries. Everything about cold weather car batteries has been discussed here to get a clear idea before purchasing a car battery.
What Makes Car Batteries Ineffective During Winter
During winter, we see so many cars stop working or take a long time to start. There are several reasons why car batteries stop working in cold weather.
Even before winter starts, many get worried about what they are going to do during winter. Before we advance into knowing batteries that can resist cold, let us first understand why most batteries fail to perform during the cold season.
To smoothly run, the oil we use in the car needs to be in good condition. During winter, the oil becomes thicker, especially single-weight oil. Thicker oil creates difficulty as it cannot perform the steps properly to start a car.
The battery works by producing electrons via chemical reactions. The chemical reactions need heat, and during winter, reactions become slower. Only very few electrons are produced, and they are hardly enough to start a car.
In this situation, the starter motor needs more power to function. So it takes more power from the battery. Therefore, the battery drains faster than usual.
However, during winter, the starter motor is not the only thing that needs to use the battery. Usually, we use windshield wipers, heater, or headlights in the winter. These require power too. If you run other devices like your stereo or audio system, and plug in your phone, the car battery will drain even more.
If your car battery is new, cold might not be a problem. However, as your battery gets older and weaker, the issues with cold might arise.
Advantages of Car Battery for Cold Weather
Car batteries that are manufactured, especially for winter, are different from regular batteries. Regular batteries can become useless during the winter season.
List of Best Cold Weather Car Battery
Review of Best Car Batteries
There are thousands of car batteries. Not all will perform well in the winter season. Here are our top 10 best picks for batteries that can resist cold.
1. XS Power Battery with Terminal Bolt [Editor’s Pick]
XS Power D6500 is a powerful battery with CCA 1000. The terminal bolt allows it to bolt into the most automotive, truck, and marine applications.
This battery has a sealed Absorbed Glass Mate or AGM design. It makes the battery more secure. Special glass fiber mat creates an inner compartment which prevents the movement of electrolyte inside the container. It is less prone to leaking. For this reason, you can mount this battery in any position. Also, less leakage means you need less cleaning up.
AGM batteries have very low internal resistance. It can deliver a lot of current continuously. This type of batteries is lightweight too. This battery goes very long without charging.
With this battery, the engine starts faster compared to other batteries. The audio system can drain a lot of power, causing dimming the lights. These problems will not occur with this battery.
2. Odyssey Automotive Battery
This battery is a deep-cycle battery with CCA 950. With such high CCA, you can use this battery at a freezing temperature. It does not give a burst of power; it provides constant power for a longer time.
This battery has a military-grade design that makes it resistant to extreme vibration and temperature. The battery will not wear down too quickly like other batteries as it has thicker plates and gives off deep discharge consistently.
This sturdy design is leak-proof. You do not have to clean the battery terminals regularly. Even though the battery is leak-proof, it cannot be mounted in an inverted position.
It takes less time to recharge compared to most batteries. It only takes four to six hours to charge this battery fully.
3. Kinetik Black Power Cell Battery [Budget Pick]
If you are on a budget but want a good battery, this could be the best option. This comes with the best price, but there is a bit of drawback too. It cannot handle the extreme cold as it has CCA 550. However, you can effortlessly use it in moderate cold.
It is one of the best batteries to provide starting power. This is an excellent choice if you keep your audio system running for a relatively long time. It supports an audio system up to 1200W.
The design is non-spillable. The cells are closely packed, which allows them to produce a higher voltage. This battery is compatible with any smaller vehicles.
The battery discharges faster than most AGM batteries. You need to charge this battery frequently for optimal performance.
4. Optima Dual Purpose Yellow Top Battery
Optima is known for its innovative and best quality batteries, and this battery is no exception. This battery is truly a dual-purpose battery and has a CCA of 620. It supports both deep cycle and starting process effortlessly.
AGM designs keep the battery secure. It also Spiralcell, which ensures the components do not move inside the battery. You can travel to rough roads without any leakage. For lower inner resistance, it is suitable for use during cold seasons.
The battery is covered with one of the safest materials. The yellow polypropylene top is thermoplastic. If the battery gets too hot, it will not burn but melt instead. You don’t have to worry about melting either. As the melting point for polypropylene is 270°F, you might never witness the melting.
5. Optima Deep Cycle Marine Battery
This Optima blue top battery is advertised as a marine battery. However, it can be used as a vehicle battery too. It can be used in starting and as a deep cycle battery. With CCA 750, it delivers adequate power for starting your vehicle even in cold weather. It maintains reserve capacity for 120 minutes to ensure reliable performance.
The battery is very durable and designed to be extremely vibration resistant. It can resist vibration 15 times more than other batteries. Another plus for this battery is, it can be mounted in any position.
The battery uses SpiralCell technology. This technology involves lead oxide coating on the lead plates, which provides a clean power source. It also monitors humidity, temperatures, and other automated processes.
6. Optima RedTop Starting Battery
This battery is best for larger vehicles. It is a starting battery and has a CCA of 800. It provides enough power to start a car, even in cold weather. It gives a burst of energy to your vehicle.
Similar to other Optima batteries, this one also comes with Spiralcell technology. This is a maintenance-free battery with double longer life. This battery has lead plates coated with lead oxide and provides clean power.
It is highly resistant to vibration. Automated processes, critical tolerances, humidity, and temperature is continuously monitored and maintained. The battery has a reserve capacity of 100 minutes.
7. Delphi MaxStart AGM Premium Automotive Battery
This battery is made for better cycle life. It is easy to start with this battery as it has CCA 800. This battery is 20 times more vibration resistant than regular flooded batteries. The battery can be placed in different positions.
It has absorbed glass mat or AGM design, which secures the inner fluids. There is no chance of leakage. Therefore, this is low maintenance, as there is no possibility of leakage. It has a reserve capacity of 140 minutes.
The housing is sealed and has a venting system. The battery is corrosion resistant and optimized with compound compression.
8. Odyssey LTV Battery
This battery is specially designed for electric cars. Having CCA 330, it cannot function in extremely cold weather. It is intended to be temperature-proof; it can provide stable performance in hot and cold weather.
It is protected against shock or vibration for better longevity. The battery is durable, made to last for three to ten years. It is spill-proof, so you do not have to worry about leakage. It also discharges less.
The battery is compact and lightweight. It is designed with high recharge efficiency. It takes only about four to six hours to recharge fully. Besides, it has 52 minutes of reserve capacity.
9. ACDelco Professional AGM Automotive Battery
The battery is made to be durable and resistant to overheating. It contains a high-density negative paste that increases battery life and performance. Calcium lead positive grid maximizes conductivity and allows low resistance.
This battery has CCA 850, a perfect one to perform without any problem in the cold temperature. The robust envelop separator with puncture-resistant back prevents shorts. It also allows increased acid circulation, which keeps the battery cool. All these features improve the longevity of the battery.
This battery has AGM design and vent cap, which prevents acid leakage. This is a moderately priced battery; however, it has a short life span.
10. Exide Edge AGM Sealed Automotive Battery
When tested with other conventional batteries, this battery outperformed. It outperforms of usage of heavy stop and go traffic that demands high electricity.
Having a higher CCA, the battery performs well in cold weather. It also has a reserve capacity of 120 minutes.
Different Types of Car Batteries
There are mainly three types of batteries used in cars or other vehicles we see on the road. All these three types of batteries are discussed briefly below.
Starting, Lighting and Ignition Batteries (SLI)
This is the most common type of battery that is used in cars. The name is pretty much self-explanatory; this battery can power up starting a car, lights, and ignition. They are also known as wet cell batteries.
SLI batteries usually have a short charge cycle. They take less time to charge and also less time to discharge. This battery gives power in bursts to start the car. They are popular as a conventional starter car battery.
This type of battery has six cells. Each cell provides about 2 volts, and the battery provides12 volts in total.
Lithium-Ion (Li-ion) Batteries
Lithium-Ion battery’s popularity has increased a lot in the last few years. Still, they are not compatible with most of the cars on the road. However, they are the future of batteries. Compare to other batteries, Li-ion batteries hold more charge. This is why hybrid cars and electric cars use Li-ion batteries more.
These catteries are powerful yet lightweight. The only negative side of these batteries is that they have a short lifespan. One can stay put for about three years.
Lead-acid batteries also provide power in short bursts to power up the engine. However, they can be used to provide energy for other devices too. There are two types of Lead-acid batteries, dry cells and wet sells.
Wet cells are conventional batteries. They contain an electrolyte, and the electrolyte consists of water and Sulfuric acid. On the other hand, the electrolyte in a dry cell is in gel form and is sealed.
Different Car Battery Technologies
There are many types of car batteries you can find. Different batteries use different technologies. With the advancement of technology, batteries are being improved as well. Manufacturers are trying to invent new technologies for batter performing batteries.
Along years of research, manufacturers have now come up with technologies that are very efficient for vehicles. They can satisfy with the things one asks from a battery. Here are the most popular technologies used in batteries.
Standard Flooded Batteries
Flooded batteries are the most common type of batteries. It is a reliable source to provide power for standard vehicles. It is commonly used to start the engine. It gives power to the starter and ignition.
It also provides power to the electrical systems like the computer system or clock. It also prevents damages to other electrical parts by preventing electrical sparks.
These 12-volt batteries are made with six cells. The cells are organized according to positive and negative sides and divided with separators.
This type of batteries is more affordable and gives reliable starting power. It ensures power for basic needs. It can also be suitable for different weather.
Despite its many advantages, these batteries have a very short lifespan. They are not capable of providing power for more extensive or powerful accessories of your vehicle. They also have limited cycling capability.
Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM)
AGM is an advanced technology that can satisfy the demand for newer model vehicles’ advanced requirements. These batteries provide power for start-stop vehicles, large audio systems, heated seats, and other accessories.
These type of batteries is sealed and highly vibrant-resistant. They are non-spillable; therefore, they are very low maintenance. Non-leakage or non-spillable quality makes it flexible for mounting it in many positions.
Compared to conventional batteries, AGM batteries give better results for cycling and gassing. You can hardly get leakage in these batteries.
These batteries are designed for harsh weather, yet they have almost double lifespan compared to standard flooded batteries. AGM batteries recharge fast and can easily handle electrical loads.
These batteries are ideal for start-stop applications. They are versatile. The negative side of this battery is that all these facilities come with a price.
Optima Spiracell technology makes the batteries more vibrate resistant and powerful. It provides more power for starting yet has better longevity. It also recharges quickly.
Batteries with this technology have six cylindrical cells and have a durable body. It can hold its shape even in heavy vibration, harsh weather, and corrosion. These are non-spillable; they can be mounted in any position.
Optima SpiralCell batteries are the best choice for vehicles with larger power demands. They can be used in vehicles with many accessories, audio systems, trucks, or even marine vehicles.
This battery is perfect for deep-cycling applications, and it is built to provide immense power. The case is tightly sealed and airtight. The cells are compressed, making it mountable anywhere.
It has three times more lifespan and five times more cycle life compared to a standard lead-acid battery. It is fifteen times more vibrant-resistant and can handle high electrical loads.
Though it recharges very fast, yet gives maximum starting performance. This battery does not leak and maintenance-free. It is perfect for functioning in harsh weather.
The price is on the higher side, but it will perform the best for a long time.
Power Frame Grid Technology
This is the next generation of battery technology. It is designed to give optimum performance for your car with the grid design. The grid is a lot stronger and long-lasting.
This technology works to prevent corrosion of batteries that leads to battery failure. This grid is 66% more corrosion-resistant than any other grid designs.
It improves the car’s performance and smooth running of electrical devices. It gives 70% better electric flow compared to other batteries. This means the start will always be consistent.
An appreciatable feature of this battery is it uses 20% less energy in manufacturing. It also produces 20% fewer greenhouse gases compared to other manufacturing methods.
Buying Guide for Best Car Batteries for Cold Weather
If you plan to buy a car battery for the winter season, you should keep some things in mind. Here are things that you should consider before purchasing a car battery for cold weather.
Cold Cranking Amps (CCA)
Cold Cranking Amps or CCA is the most critical thing for cold weather batteries. Simply put, the higher the CCA, the better for performance during winter.
CCA indicates how well the battery will perform or start the engine in cold weather. CCA is measured by the number of amperes a battery can provide in 30 seconds in zero degrees.
Regular batteries do not have CCA ratings, as this is not necessary for warmer times. However, cold weather batteries come with a CCA indicator. Standard batteries are also not meant to be used in freezing temperatures.
Reserve Capacity (RC)
If the alternator malfunctions, you might still need to use power for other accessories, like the heater, seat warmer, windshield wiper, stereo, etc. For all those things, reserve power is needed.
A battery can perform properly in around 80º Fahrenheit or 27º Celcius. For how many minutes a battery can push out 25 amp in this optimal temperature, the reserve capacity (RC). Higher RC performs better in cold weather.
Deep Cycle or Starter Battery
According to your need r what suits your car, you can choose either deep cycle batteries or starter batteries.
SLI or stater batteries give a burst of power to start your car and then recharge from the alternator. These cannot withstand multiple recharge/discharge cycles. Draining a starter battery can decrease its lifespan.
On the other hand, deep cycle batteries are designed to provide a steady current for a long time. They can be recharged and discharged repeatedly without having much impact on it. They can power other car accessories or plugins without any problem.
Dual-purpose deep-cycle batteries can both power up as a starter battery and then work as a regular deep cycle battery.
If a battery vibrates, it can damage the battery. The internal compounds can suffer mechanical or high-impact shocks for vibration. These can damage the battery or affect longevity.
To ensure the battery is vibrant-resistant, the cells are tightly packed and cover with a robust outer shell. If the battery is not vibrant-resistant, the battery can get excessively noisy.
Most of the sealed batteries are maintenance-free. If you do not want to waste time maintaining your car battery, you should choose a maintenance-free car battery.
For conventional batteries, you need to put water to restore the electrolytes. There is a possibility of spillage as well.
You do not have to take these hassles if you buy a maintenance-free car battery. Maintenance-free batteries have low discharge and a better lifespan.
Dimension and Weight
No matter what type of car battery you buy, it must fit your vehicle. Otherwise, it will be a useless purchase. Consider the size and weight of a battery and check if your car is appropriate for the battery.
Good batteries can be a bit pricy. However, you can find one that satisfies your needs. You must also think about your battery installation. If you are not installing the battery yourself, you have to spend some money on installment.
Cheap batteries can cost you more in the long run. If you buy a somewhat expensive battery initially, it might have a better lifespan and be maintenance-free.
Most of the time good products come with a good warranty. How long the warranty gives you an indication of what the manufacturer thinks about the products. A more extended warranty means the manufacturer is confident about the product’s durability.
Usually, batteries come with a warranty ranging from one to three years. It is best to get a product that gives a longer warranty time. You should also check if the manufacturer provides supports for warranty claims.
Keeping Your Car Battery Healthy During Winter
A good car battery for winter ensures good performance during winter. Still, it would be best if you took proper care of your battery to make it last longer.
Your battery CCA specifies how cold your battery can tolerate. However, a battery loses its power as it gets older. Your battery might not give you the best performance as it used to give in the winter as time passes.
Check on how old your car battery is. You can use a car battery tester. It would be best if you did it once in a couple of months when the battery gets older.
Park Car in a Warm Place
During cold weather, you can park your car inside the garage. It is the best way to keep your vehicle warm. Even better, if you install a heater in the garage in freezing temperatures. If your car is warm, it will not take any time to start or run.
Put The Battery Inside
If you cannot put your car inside somewhere warm, the least you can do is detach your car battery and put it inside. This way, your battery stays warm and can function correctly.
Switch Everything Off
Leaving your stereo or headlight on might not make a difference during warmer times. However, it can have a huge impact during winter. Try not to leave anything turned on that consumes power when you leave your car. It can drain your car battery a lot faster during winter.
Keep The Battery Clean
As in freezing weather, the battery gets more stressed; it is best to clean the battery before winter. The chemical reactions inside the battery can lead it to wear off. You should clean the corrosion from different parts of the battery, specifically the terminals.
Use a Trickle Charger
If you are keeping your vehicle in your garage during winter and not using it, you should invest in a trickle charger. Charge your battery so that it does not die by sitting there.
When to Replace the Battery?
Every battery wear outs as time passes. Even after proper care and maintenance, a battery dies as everything comes with an expiration date.
As a battery is nothing but some chemical reactions, the temperature plays a vital role in it. In ideal temperature, a battery lasts a long time. In harsh weather, the battery might have less lifespan.
You do not have to worry about your car battery dying in mid-road. Some signs can show that your battery is old and is about to die.
The biggest sign your car can show to let you know that the battery is getting old is cranking. If you get only cranking from your engine, but it does not start, that means the car battery is getting weak. If this frequently happens in a limited time, that means your battery has become really old; it will die soon.
It can also be, there are crank and the engine starts, but it takes a while. This can also indicate that your car battery needs replacement shortly.
It is a good habit to keep track of your car battery’s age. You can test your battery to see if it can perform well. Battery’s longevity somewhat depends on the climate. In humid weather, batteries last less. However, a car battery will last you two to three years, at least.
If It Smells
The battery contains chemicals. If you get a strong sulfur smell that smells like a rotten egg, then there might be leakage. Leakage can lead to corrosion, and that causes poor performance for the battery.
The leakage will cause rust. For a temporary solution, you can scrub off the rust created from leakage. However, you have to replace the battery.
The Battery Case is Bloated
It is alarming if you see your battery case is bloated. Battery bloating can occur due to overheating. If you notice the deformed battery, you should immediately take it to test and replace it.
How Long Does It Take to Replace a Car Battery
You can easily replace your car battery within 20 minutes. Although, there are some models of vehicles that can take longer. If you do not feel comfortable changing the battery yourself, you can always get help from a professional. You can take your car to your nearest workshop and get your car battery replaced.
Tips for Driving Cars During Winter
You can get the best car battery for winter and maintain it properly, but most importantly, you have to drive your car correctly. Otherwise, accidents can happen. The winter is challenging, not just to run the car but to drive as well. You have to drive in snow or fog skillfully and make some adjustments to your vehicle. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind while driving in winter.
Wide blades need changing frequently. You need to replace your old ones with new ones before winter. During winter, the weather is gloomy, and you need to see things clearly. There could be fog or snow. Therefore, you need functional wiper blades.
In winter, the decreased temperature causes the oil to thicken. You will need to find the best blend of oils that work best for your car. There are some oils available in the market that are good for winter. Some of them can also be used all around the year.
You will need to upgrade your tires to drive on snow. Replace your regular tires with winter tires. Winter tires are made with rubber that has more winter resistance qualities and has better grips. You also should check the tire pressure regularly.
Know Weather Update
Before heading out, know the correct weather update for any unwanted circumstances. You can get prepared for heavy snowfall or storms if you stay updated about the weather. You should also carry emergency kits or tools that can come in handy during winter.
Driving a car in the snow can be an enjoyable experience only if you have the right equipment. It can become a disaster if your car fails in the middle of nowhere, or you do not have the power to heat the seats or your vehicle.
Every confusion you had about car batteries for cold weather should be solved by now. We have discussed every nitty-gritty about car batteries here. Having adequate knowledge of car batteries can clear out the cloud of confusion in your head. Hopefully, you can reach a decision now as now you have an idea about the best car battery for cold weather.
1. How cold is too cold for a car battery?
During cold weather, it takes twice more current to start a vehicle than regular time. At 35°F, the battery loses 35 percent of battery strength, and at 0°F, it drops about 60 percent.
2. Does cold weather kill a car battery?
Cold weather slows down the chemical reaction in the battery. Therefore, cold weather can hamper the performance of a battery. High-end batteries might work somehow in extremely cold weather, but cheap batteries might die.
3. Does cold weather shorten car battery life?
In freezing weather, the chemical reaction slows down. As a result, the battery needs double the current than regular. This creates pressure in the battery, which damages the battery and shortens battery life.
4. How do you warm up a car battery in cold weather?
You should remove snow or ice off of the car. Then you can remove the battery from the vehicle and keep it inside your garage. Before heading out, start the engine a few seconds before driving.
5. Is cold bad for batteries?
Yes, freezing weather is bad for batteries. Low temperature hampers the chemical reaction of a battery. Therefore, the battery needs twice more current to start the engine. This extra pressure on the battery affects it.
6. How many cold cranking amps do I need for cold weather?
The higher the Cold Cranking Ampere (CCA), the better for cold weather. In general, 650 CCA is good enough for moderately cold weather. In the case of freezing weather, more than 800 CCA will be better.
7. Can a car not start because of the cold?
In freezing weather, the oil gets thickened and does not flow well. Concentrated oil can cause a blockage. Therefore, the car might not start.