The coldest months of the year can take a toll on people, but did you know that they can also be rough on your car’s battery? The truth is that cold weather can sap your battery’s strength and leave you stranded if you’re not paying attention. Fairfax Auto Repair explains more about how your car battery works and how cold weather affects it.
How Do Batteries Work?
Standard car batteries contain a set of lead plates, water, and sulfuric acid. Each plate makes up part of the battery cells, with two plates per cell. Each cell, there are four total, generates a little over 4 volts of electrical power. Altogether, the battery generates 12.8 volts, which is enough power to start up your car. When your battery isn’t putting out that full 12.8 volts, however, you’re going to have trouble starting the car.
The Impact of Cold Weather
Cold weather definitely has an impact on just about everything, including how well your car’s battery operates. Because the battery is basically a chemical reaction within the battery case, cold causes that chemical reaction to happen far more sluggishly. This can also cause your battery to lose power overall. If the battery is too old, it can die completely.
Accessories and Forgetfulness Drain the Battery
Drains on your battery, like accessories that you leave plugged in, can make it even tougher for your battery to keep up during cold weather. If you leave your radio, heat, and other accessories on when you turn the car off, they’re going to be part of the initial drain on the battery when you go to turn the car back on. Also, forgetting things like turning off your headlights or leaving the trunk popped just enough for the trunk light to get left on can completely drain your battery.
Warm the Battery When You Can
Keeping your battery warmer, especially when the temperature gets as low as zero, can help significantly. Even just parking in a garage instead of parking outside can make a big difference. There are also devices like battery blankets that help to protect and to insulate the battery from cold weather. You may want to be more careful in general during cold weather to make sure you’re not doing anything to endanger your battery.
If you’re noticing any issues with your car’s battery, bring it by Fairfax Auto Repair in Fairfax, VA. We can test your battery for you and make sure that you’ve got the power you need.