Does the Cold Weather Kill your Car Battery?

The weather outside has been trying for our fellow Sterling, VA, area residents, and that cold weather can affect your car or truck’s battery! Below, we will cover the main top things that can drain your vehicle’s battery during the winter.

How Do Batteries Work?

Batteries have three main components: two terminals made of different chemicals, an anode (negative terminal), a cathode (positive terminal), and an electrolyte chemical that acts as a medium to allow the flow of charge between the cathode and the anode.

Most vehicular batteries rely on a lead-acid reaction, which falls under the category of SLI (starting, lighting, and ignition) by providing short bursts of energy to power the different parts of your vehicle.

As any driver who has dealt with a dead battery when trying to leave for work can tell you, batteries are a crucial component. 

Loose Cable Connections or Corrosion

When you look at a battery under the hood, you can see it has two raised points of contact called terminals. 

Those terminals need to be appropriately connected to their respective cables. Those same terminals can also corrode. When the corrosion happens, it will be obvious. A flaky substance will start to gather around the terminals.

Long rides can cause the cables to loosen with time, and periodically inspecting the terminals to ensure they are connected and clean will keep the battery strong. 

Freezing Temperatures

The colder temps in Sterling, VA, can be brutal to the battery. At around 32 degrees, the battery will lose approximately 35% of its strength.

Given the need to produce maximum amperage, a battery must work harder to start in the winter months since the engine is so cold. That extra demand on an already weakened battery can cause it to lose its efficiency. Effectively, it shortens the battery’s life.

Battery Diagnostics Tests at Casey’s Automotive in Sterling, Virginia

In closing, freezing temperatures brought on by cold weather can indeed damage your vehicle’s battery. Since batteries tend to last around 5 to 6 years, it is best to have them checked each time you bring your vehicle in for any service. A technician will run a diagnostic test and let you know about the battery’s health. Contact us to ensure you won’t be left in the driveway waiting for a jump start before work!




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