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Can Freezing Weather Damage Car Batteries?

Can Freezing Weather Damage Car Batteries?

If your car didn't start on a cold morning, you might have asked yourself, “can freezing weather damage car batteries?” The short answer is yes if the temperature drops below a minimum threshold, your battery’s liquid can freeze and expand, causing some cracks and damages to the battery case and terminals, completely damaging the entire battery.

Your vehicle's battery is a very critical component that prevents your car from having difficulty starting. Without a perfectly working car battery, you can get stuck in nowhere looking for help that might not be close.

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Car batteries problems occur mostly in winter due to freezing weather temperatures. As a result, many drivers find themselves stuck in a cold morning dealing with a vehicle not starting before an important meeting or probably before getting their kids to their schools.

To prevent dealing with these situations, every driver needs to be proactive about the impact of freezing temperatures on car batteries. Therefore, this article provides you a clear answer for the question “can freeze weather damaged car batteries?” It also highlights some tips and tricks that you can implement to prevent freezing temperatures from damaging your car's battery.

How does freezing weather impact your battery?

Like any component that includes fluid, your vehicle's battery wouldn't like being exposed to freezing water temperatures. The battery consists of metal plates that are soaked into electrolyte liquid. The metal plates create an electrochemical reaction within this liquid to generate the necessary electricity between the two terminals.

The first and most common negative impact of freezing weather on your vehicle's battery is when fluid freezes and prevents the electrochemical reactions from happening. Thus, don't be surprised to deal with a dead battery when the temperature exceeds a minimum threshold.

In addition to freezing battery liquid, the battery itself will not work as it used to in colder temperatures versus normal temperatures. According to experts, Your vehicle's power is expected to lose about 33% from its power when the air temperature drops below freezing numbers. Some customers confirmed that their vehicles' batteries dropped more than 50% as the temperature dropped below 0 Fahrenheit.

Furthermore, Gale Kimbrough, technical services manager for Interstate batteries, indicated that “A 100 percent fully charged battery will not freeze until approximately minus 76 degrees Fahrenheit. A fully discharged battery can freeze at or around 32 degrees.”

Therefore, if you live in areas where the temperature drops below freezing levels, you must be proactive about the problem and maintain the battery. You can probably perform regular checks on your battery more often than normal to ensure that the battery doesn't have significant problems, and you might need to install a new battery before the expiration date of your existing battery in some scenarios.

How to prevent dead batteries in freezing weather?

If you live in areas where the temperature drops below a certain minimum threshold, it shouldn't be surprising to you that your battery will be impacted significantly. Therefore, one of the first things you need to build a skill is preparing your battery for winter and learning about tips and tricks that help you prevent dead batteries from freezing others.

Let's take a look at some of the automotive experts’ recommendations regarding preventing your battery from freezing and dying during cold weather:

1.    Check the battery regularly

The best thing you can do to prevent yourself from getting stuck in cold mornings dealing with a dead battery is perform a regular battery check. The more you check the battery, the easier it is for your mechanic to detect early signs of battery problems. This way, he will recommend that you install a new battery whenever needed.

When the battery is in bad condition, there is a very high chance of getting impacted by freezing weather more than another battery in good condition. In other words, if you are very won't work at its full capacity during freezing weather, imagine if the battery doesn't hold the charge in the first place!

Although installing a new battery will cost you some time and money, it won't be as frustrating as getting stuck with a dead battery in the middle of a freezing temperature rather than dealing with clearing up the snow from the exterior of the vehicle and getting going to your work.

2.    Drive longer

Driving shorter distances is another common killing practice that damages your car's battery during the winter season. Therefore, if you're planning to leave the car for a vacation, you need to maintain some sort of electric charge source somehow to keep it alive and prevent it from freezing.

However, if you decide to limit your commute during winter conditions because driving is more challenging, you still want to maintain your regular commute drive. In other words, it is understandable that people eliminate driving during winter. Still, when you drive, you must have longer trips by driving for at least 10 to 20 minutes where your engine warms up and maintains a healthy battery.

On the other hand, if you drive for a couple of miles, your people won't have the chance to warm up and keep the battery alive. The more you drive, the higher the temperature under your vehicle's hood and the healthier the battery.

One good tip here would be to plan your trips ahead of time. For example, if you know that you must go to a certain location this weekend, consider combining the trips and aiming for longer distances of driving even though it will cost you driving more during freezing snow.

However, you must keep a balance between when it's safe to drive and when you can't drive because driving in winter it also depends on your driving skills and many people find it challenging to drive safely in winter season especially field they're driving smaller vehicles that are not equipped with certain elements that can help control the car and prevent slipping.

3.    Choose your parking place

If you have the chance to park in your garage or outside, experts recommend that you park your car in areas shaded by snow. Yes, if the temperature is freezing outside, the negative impact on your car's battery will not be as bad as when snow accumulates and builds up on the vehicle's exterior.

If you don't have a garage, there are some other recommendations that you might try to help keep a healthy battery and prevent dead batteries during freezing weather. For example, you might want to park your car next to warm buildings or probably near heated equipment. Some other people found it handy to park their cars in certain garages with a lot of common goal traffic, which means that the overall temperature will be slightly higher than other empty areas without any traffic around.

4.    Consider thermal blankets

If you live in an area that experiences many freezing conditions, you might want to invest in some extra components that can help maintain a healthy battery temperature. For example, you might want to try the thermal wraps, the electric battery blankets, or probably the battery warmers.

You can test and try many isolators that maintain the battery and prevent it from freezing or getting corrupted. However, keep in mind that these isolators differ in capacity, characteristics, and price. Therefore, you must perform thorough research to check what works for you and what works for your conditions in your area because there are some instances where you might not need a very expensive thermal blanket because it provides more benefits than what you're looking for.

5.    Shop for a battery charger

Most drivers who plan to leave their cars for a long time turned off rely on components like a trickle charger that helps maintain a continuous source of electric charge. However, these components are not very efficient, especially if the temperature drops below the minimum threshold.

Automotive experts indicated that trickle chargers are great options if the temperature doesn't drop below 32 Fahrenheit. However, that might not be the case in all locations. Thus, if you don't start your car's battery doesn't hold the charge, you might want to consult a professional mechanic and get an idea about what else you can do to maintain your car's battery charged.

Some researchers found that the alternator itself might not have the capacity to charge the battery during cold weather conditions because the battery won't be more efficient than 65%. Thus, getting the right amount of juice to get the battery charged can be a little challenging to your alternator, and that's where you need to get an expert opinion about what needs to be done for your location.

Can freezing weather damage car batteries?

In some scenarios, when a car battery freezes due to low temperatures, yes, freezing weather can damage your car battery. Automotive experts mentioned that you should never try to jumpstart your car after it freezes because when the car's battery liquid freezes, it typically expands and might create some cracks on the battery case.

Therefore, if you notice some signs of cracks around the battery terminals or some weak locations on your battery, you must prevent doing anything about this battery and install a new one instead.

If you attempt to perform a quick jump start, there is a very high chance that you might get yourself in risk situations related to electric shocks. In addition, if there is anybody around, other people might get affected as well.

Are such distances that whenever you deal with that are impacted by freezing weather temperatures, you should consult your mechanic and have him perform a thorough inspection to see whether the battery is restorable or not. Then, your mechanic will have a better chance and a better vision about the status of the battery, and he should have previous experience about when the batteries are completely damaged due to freezing weather temperatures.

What other factors drain the car battery during winter?

Aside from freezing temperatures, some other factors might drain your car battery during winter, ending you up with a dead battery. For example, you might deal with the following issues:

 

Problems with human errors like leaving the headlights or internal lights turned on. Therefore, you must remember to turn off all electric components before you leave the vehicle, especially in winter, because the vehicle's battery will not be as efficient as usual.

Issues with corrosion around the battery terminals and cables resulting in obstruction to the electric current flow. Thus, you must inspect the car battery and clean up any corrosion if it exists. However, if you notice some cracks around the battery terminals, you'd better have a professional mechanic perform the clean-up or install a battery when needed.

Conclusion

Your vehicle's battery is the main component responsible for providing the electric charge to get your vehicle going after it's turned off. Unfortunately, during the winter season, the batteries don't work as efficiently as before, and there is a very high chance that people deal with dead batteries.

Although dead batteries might be the common impact of cold weather on vehicles batteries, your battery might get completely damaged when the water temperature drops below a certain minimum threshold. So, unfortunately, if you're wondering, “can freezing water damage car batteries?” The short answer is yes because cold weather can freeze the battery's fluid and prevent the electrochemical reactions from happening to generate electricity.

If your car has other major problems, it might not be worth investing the time and effort installing a new battery instead. However, more experts recommend that you evaluate whether it's the right time now to sell your vehicle and use its value towards a better car that doesn't have issues.

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