Home » Why Do Batteries Die in the Cold? Tips to Prevent it from Dying

Why Do Batteries Die in the Cold? Tips to Prevent it from Dying

Why Do Batteries Die in the Cold Featured Image

Ever feel like your car’s battery life decreases in winter? Well, cold weather slows everything down. So as your battery strength. Studies show that, at 32 Degree Fahrenheit, battery strength reduces to 35%, whereas, at 0 Degree Fahrenheit, it decreases to 60%.

The chemical processes slow down when the battery gets cold. Slower chemical processes may extend battery life by reducing the rate of breakdown. Slower chemical processes indicate lower battery power. So, when it becomes cold quickly, batteries drain more quickly than hot ones. 

In reality, the cold weather is only exposing underlying deterioration concerns. Although, automotive batteries might be permanently damaged.

But why do batteries die in the cold? What could be the possible reasons behind it? Let’s find the answers in this blog.

How Does Temperature Affect Battery Life

The temperature has a big effect on how well and for how long car batteries work and last. Most people think that cold weather kills batteries, but it’s actually hot weather that makes batteries die sooner. Chemical reactions slow down when the battery gets cold.

A car battery works best at 80 Degree Fahrenheit. A decrease or increase in temperature may affect its efficiency.

Let’s explain in detail.

In a car battery, there are lead plates with a mixture of liquid electrolytes. Thus, it creates charges due to a chemical reaction, which produces the electrical energy needed to power up the starter.

The electrolytes are also reactive with temperatures. As there happen electro-chemical reactions, heat accelerates the reaction. Hence, in summer, when the temperature is high, the high speed of chemical reaction speeds up the internal corrosion of the cells, reducing the battery’s lifespan.

On the other hand, the battery starts having a low reaction rate in winter due to cold temperatures. Eventually, the battery rarely produces any charge and fails to start. So, cars tend to start slow when it’s freezing.

Hence, if you are concerned about cold weather, batteries that build to witness freezing temperatures can be useful.

Reasons Why Do Batteries Die in the Cold

Why Do Batteries Die in the Cold

Here are some probable reasons that cause batteries to die in cold weather.

Capacity reduction

When you start your engine, it takes a lot of electric charges to start. You can start it quickly at an average temperature with the updated battery technology.

On the other hand, the process would slow down at freezing temperatures. Some batteries don’t get affected by age; instead, they might get damaged by the freezing temperature. A brand new battery may also slow down for temperature differences in some cases. It’s impossible to control the starter motor demands.

Starter motors in an increased draw

A car battery requires more amperage than usual in cold weather. This leads to creating problems for car batteries. Single-weight oils don’t have many viscosity ratings.

Eventually, the motor oil turns thicker in winter. For thick consistency, it takes longer for the engine to start and causes starter motors in increased draws.

Accessories in an increased draw

In winter weather, days are shorter, and the weather turns inclement. Therefore, there’s more work for the car battery to work. You need to use the battery more for external accessories like wipers, headlights, etc.

In case your car has an alternator with high performance, it would take more time for the battery to charge. As the battery is already slow, your battery will get damaged in no time.

What Temperature Kills a Car Battery?

Whether it’s winter or summer, your battery needs to maintain a usual temperature to function, or else it might get ruined. As a precaution, you can charge up your battery beforehand.

Based on Interstate Battery, your battery will slow down at about 32 degrees Fahrenheit when it’s not charged. However, it will work properly even at the lowest temperature of -76 degrees Fahrenheit when you charge properly.

Note that: It is very important to test your battery load and check the connections and electrolytes when the weather changes to winter.

Besides, a little maintenance would take the battery to work properly in summer weather. You barely need to work on preservative maintenance. Even in these situations, the electrolyte can evaporate and cause battery failure. Therefore, you should regularly check your electrolyte.

Also, you can avoid electrolyte dropping if you check them daily. Hence, this would cause fewer problems.

Does Cold Weather Permanently Damage Car Batteries?

Yes, the car batteries would get permanently damaged in cold weather. The following situations could worsen the issue.

Human error

The main problem of damaging a car battery is human error. Everyone rushes in cold weather to wrap around the fireplace. However, it’s necessary to check whether you turned off everything, including accessories, in your car.

Take the below actions to solve the problem:

  • Turn off your accessories
  • Unplug the accessories
  • Turn off your engine.

Loose connections

You will find ‘terminals’ that have two points on a car battery: one positive (+) and negative (-). The terminals usually stick out, and cables are connected to them.

When there’s a loose connection, the car battery takes longer to get started. You can easily ignore this problem by keeping the terminal clean and checking the cables regularly.

It’s necessary to:

  • Clean the terminals
  • Tighten the cable connections.

Freezing temperatures

As mentioned, the freezing temperature would affect the car battery. Your car battery efficiency will reduce to 35% at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. At 0 degrees Fahrenheit, the percentage will reduce to 60%. Eventually, the engine would require more charge to get started, damaging the battery permanently.

However, the following ways can help you solve this problem:

  • Start using a battery blanket
  • Make sure your car is in the garage
  • Keep your car away from the wind
  • Charge your car battery properly.

How Do I Keep My Car Battery from Dying in Cold Weather?

Where there’s a problem, you will also have solutions. So, you can maintain a few steps to save your battery in cold weather.

Note: some of these ideas are inspired by some resect research online. To learn more see the resources below.

First, keep track of the age of your battery. On the battery’s side, you can find the manufactured date. The manufactured date is basically your battery age. When the car battery crosses 10 years, it would be best to replace it.

Then, you should check whether your battery has any corrosion. Usually, this problem causes in the terminal section. When you see discoloration, you should know that there’s internal corrosion.

Another step you can follow is the lesser use of electrical systems in winter. This would definitely help to extend the battery life. When you start your engine, it automatically charges your battery which helps using external accessories like a heating system or radio.

When your engine is off, your alternator causes an energy draw. But when you have no alternator, the battery will start charging when you start the engine.

Final Verdict

We hope you got the answers to ‘why do batteries die in the cold.’ Temperature issues would affect your car battery. But you can always take precautions to avoid your battery getting damaged.

In case you struggle to maintain your car battery, you can take the help of the experts. They would give you the best advice and helpful tips for keeping the battery intact.

Resources: