How does cold weather affect the car battery?

How does cold weather affect the car battery?

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Car batteries don't usually have to work very well in hot weather, but when winter conditions come, the cold can stress your battery and may increase the chance that it will fail.

Temperature plays an important role in battery performance

Inside the typical lead acid battery are lead plates (cells) in electrolytic liquid which creates an electrochemical reaction to produce a charge at the battery terminals. The heat accelerates this chemical activity, but also the internal corrosion with the cells, an effect that reduces the battery life.

This is especially true in the case of batteries that repeatedly reach high internal temperatures and, an effect that also reduces capacity, it can be restored.

But just as heat accelerates chemical reactions, cold temperatures slow them down. Therefore, you may feel that your battery may become slow in the winter, even if its state of charge remains unchanged.

At lower temperatures, the battery's ability to provide enough power to start and run a vehicle is diminished.

What is CCA (Cold-Cranking Amperage)?

CCA (Cold-Cranking Amperage) is the amount of current that a battery can provide for 30 seconds at -18C without decreasing to a specified interrupt voltage. A fully charged lead-acid battery can "survive" up to -50C, but a low-charge battery can freeze at -1C.

How do we maintain the car's battery?

We recommend that car owners start paying special attention to batteries three years after installation.

If the battery starts to show signs of fatigue, the first thing you will probably notice is that the car sounds slow when you try to start. This is a major warning sign that should not be ignored.

If you hear slow sounds when starting the car, do not immediately assume that the battery needs to be replaced. Check that the battery connections are tight and that the wires are not broken or disconnected. Also, make sure that the terminals are clean.

If the battery has covers, remove them and check that the fluid inside is about 5 mm above the plates (cells) or between the levels indicated by the battery cover.

If the level is low, top up with deionized water and avoid overfilling. Wipe out any leaks. Some batteries are permanently sealed and maintenance-free, so you won't be able to check the fluid level.

Bibliography:

https://www.mynrma.com.au/

https://homebatterybank.com/

https://axleaddict.com/

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12 comments

  1. I was shocked by a battery phase on my Matiz.
    In the last month, he was parked, because I'm going to scrap him for a new car.
    But the thing is not 100% safe and I walk with her from time to time so as not to let her die in case I still need her.
    Well, I went up to start it and the battery was dead, I kept the ignition on, nothing happened for a few seconds, after which it started to spin harder and harder until the car started.
    As far as I know, when a consumer connects, the voltage keeps decreasing, it does not increase…
    I'm curious how something like this can happen, because from everything I know so far, without a charger, a battery does not charge itself.
    I also thought about the alternator, but still where did that initial whirlwind until the alternator started to spin, if for a few seconds it was completely dead?

    1. This is an issue that needs to be studied in more detail. There are several things to consider here. Maybe you still don't have a problem with the battery? Maybe the drive belt is the problem, being worn (spinning empty)?

      1. Well, you didn't understand, initially it didn't spin anything, that's what I say, that the first thing that happens is that the battery gives power to the electric motor to spin the motor. And initially the battery was dead, after which it started spinning. Nothing slips there, it's a pinion gear.

        1. I understand now. Hmm… sure you have no contact problems at the battery terminals? Sometimes I can make intermittent contact.

        2. The car had not been started for a long time, which is why that engine was "a little stiff" the oil was cold, the battery a little fainted.
          Hence the effect. When you gave him the key, the electric motor had a moment when he "pushed" so to speak, those 2-3 seconds, and when the engine was released it started spinning faster and faster.

  2. AS in electronic tech worked in Industrial electric power all my adult life.
    Majority of these statements are fact based ..
    Other battery "chemistries" are affected by temperature changes also, but a different rates!
    More importantly, with the common LEAD ACID batteries used to CRANK the engine is obvious in the pic!
    Any corrosion on it's terminals, or for that matter loosness, RAISES the electrical resistance!
    Due to the low DC voltage involved, much less gets to the starter motor.
    Also, MANY more amps needed to crank a very cold engine, when the battery output is also lowered.

  3. Also the acid settles in the bottom of each cell so may need to be stirred to get it going again! Block all vents and place in a thick plastic bag. Rotate it axially about 10 times and enjoy the increase in charge and power. Not good for older degrading batteries as lead chunks can short out plates if there is enough of it.

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