Does cold weather damage my battery?s

Posted by Daniel Reed on

Does cold weather damage my battery?

When you think of car battery problems, you probably think they appear in the dead of winter. You try to start your car one cold morning, and nothing happens, or you at least notice cranking terribly slow.

  It is true that battery failures can occur in cold weather but that is not usually what has caused the problem.

High temperatures, not cold, are the killer of all batteries. But high temperatures cannot always be avoided. This is the case with a starter battery under the bonnet of a car. Therefore, we are seeing more and more car manufacturers, position the battery in the boot or in the passenger compartment.

Cold weather, however, slows the chemical process down, therefore the CCA (cold cranking amps) and the capacity of the battery are reduced. Therefore, a starting battery can show signs of needing replacing in the colder months but has not actually deteriorated any more.

As all drivers in cold countries know, a warm battery cranks the car engine better than a cold one. Cold temperature increases the internal resistance and lowers the capacity. A battery that provides 100 percent capacity at 27°C (80°F) will typically deliver only 50 percent at –18°C (0°F). The momentary capacity-decrease differs with battery chemistry.

According to the 2010 BCI Failure Mode Study, starter batteries have become more heat resistant. In the 2000 study, a rise in temperature of 7°C (12°F) affected battery life by roughly one year; in 2010 the heat tolerance has been widened to 12°C (22°F). Other statistics reveal that in 1962, a starter battery lasted 34 months; technical improvements increased the life expectancy in 2000 to 41 months. In 2010, BCI reported an average age of 55 months for starter batteries, with the cooler climates attaining 59 months and the warmer climates 47 months. Colloquial evidence in 2015 revealed that a battery kept in the boot of a car lasted one year longer than if positioned in the engine compartment.

Caring For your Battery

Avoid exposing batteries to heat! Care should be taken to mount batteries away from heat-emitting components such as exhausts, turbos etc. If close proximity is unavoidable, provide as much ventilation as possible.

If possible, in summer, park your car out of direct sunlight and avoid driving at the hottest times of the day.

When it is time to replace your battery, select one that is rated at least as high as the original. Replacing a battery is a simple do-it-yourself job, assuming you do not mind getting your hands a little dirty.


For more tips on “caring for your battery”, go to

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