What Effects Do Winter Temperatures Have on Vehicle Batteries?

If you live in a part of the country that sees extreme cold temperatures during the winter, you might wonder what effects these temperatures will have on your vehicle. One of the parts of your vehicle that’s most susceptible to negative effects from the cold is your battery. You likely know that a phone or camera can discharge its battery faster during cold weather, so it only makes sense that the same would be true for vehicles.

But why does this happen, and what can you do about it? Here’s a quick overview of what you should know about vehicle batteries in the winter and seeking help from a reliable commercial vehicle roadside assistance company in Ocala, FL.

Impacts to be aware of

Batteries get their electric current when connections are made between the positive and negative terminals. Upon the formation of this connection, there is a chemical reaction that starts and generates electrons to supply the battery current. Lowering the ambient temperature surrounding the battery slows down those chemical reactions, which means batteries in lower temperatures create less current than those used in higher temperatures.

Eventually, a cold battery will reach the point where it’s no longer able to deliver enough electrical current to keep up with what’s being demanded of it. If the battery gets warmed back up, though, it should operate as normal.

You can resolve this problem by keeping batteries warm before use. It will help a lot if you’re able to store the vehicle in a garage, as this will protect it from the even colder ambient air of the outdoors. If the temperature in the garage is still very low, you may need to use a trickle charger to keep the battery appropriately charged. There are also special kinds of wraps and insulation blankets for batteries that can help to keep them warm even during the coldest days of the year.

Keep in mind, though, that for most batteries the discharge curve is more affected by the design and chemistry of the battery than by the ambient temperature. If the current being drawn by the equipment is low when compared to the cell’s power rating, then the effects from the temperature might not matter at all.

It’s also important to remember that, when a battery is not being used, it will slowly lose its charge due to leakage that comes from between the terminals. Unused batteries will lose their charge even faster at colder temperatures, so if you’ve had a vehicle just sitting for a couple weeks during the cold, there’s a possibility you’ll be dealing with a dead battery the next time you go to drive the vehicle.

Ultimately, it’s in your best interest to keep your batteries warm and to regularly use your vehicle during the winter to prevent a battery discharge. For more information about protecting your vehicle batteries over the winter, contact a reliable commercial vehicle roadside assistance company in Ocala, FL like J & M Trailer Repair. Our mechanics would be happy to answer your questions and address your concerns. We look forward to working with you.