Breakdown: Why car batteries can die in cold weather

Why you shouldn’t always trust your car thermometer

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Cold weather is often blamed when car batteries die but warmer temperatures actually do the most harm.

The warmer temperatures allow corrosion of internal plates and can vaporize the electrolyte quicker than cold temperatures. The batteries usually end up dying out on those cold days because all the damage that may have been done over the warmer months and may not show up until the battery is taxed.

Car battery
Car battery (Source: Car battery)

A cold battery has a lower cranking power, plus cold temperatures can thicken motor oil, which makes it more difficult to turn the engine over. Present day electrical and fuel systems can mask a weak battery by starting the engine at a low cranking power, but experts say when a drained battery is exposed to the cold conditions it is more apt to fail.

Here are some tips that mechanics recommend to protect your car battery:

  • Try to keep your car away from excessive heat;
  • the more you drive, the more time your car should get to recover;
  • don’t let your battery drain fast by plugging electrical devices;
  • keep your car battery clean; and
  • buy a car battery charger.

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