How to Help Your Battery Get You Through Winter

There’s a reason car battery sales shoot up in the winter. Just like their drivers, cars don’t function quite as well in cold weather. Regardless of the state or quality of your battery as winter approaches, freezing temperatures can end up damaging the battery, which means you will be shelling out for a new one far sooner than you should.

Most of the time, battery failure in the winter is the result of improper storage. Batteries self-discharge, and when a battery with depleted electrolytes is taken out into the cold, the internals and the case can crack. This can be avoided with proper storage and a good charger. Knowing how to properly take care of your battery, including adjusting for its age and knowing the correct cold-cranking amps for your vehicle itself, can save you time and money on repairs. We’ve gathered together a few tips, misconceptions and precautions to help you get through the extreme winter weather.

It’s easy to assume the battery with the highest number of cold-cranking amps will be the best way to get through severe cold. Unfortunately, more CCAs doesn’t translate into a safer battery. While there are certainly vehicles that need the extra power, someone living in Florida or even in a colder climate with a commuter car won’t ever use the extra CCAs they paid for. The “bigger is better” mentality when it comes to battery buying is a marketing trick. Proper research into the amount of CCAs your individual vehicle needs will allow you to select the best battery for your situation. There’s no need to pay extra if you don’t have to.

It’s also important to remember that just because you bought a battery with a high CCA rating, it doesn’t mean your battery is ready for winter. At Bauer Built Tire, we always recommend our customers bring their batteries in for an inspection before the winter weather hits. Getting your battery assessed allows you to not only ensure it will last all winter, but the inspection also gives you the chance to ask for advice on caring for your individual battery and vehicle.

For storage, you have a few options. First, clean off any corrosion that may have built up. Corrosion can cause start-up problems just as easily as a worn-out battery. Once you’ve removed the battery, you can either bring it inside to keep it out of the freezing weather, or leave it in the garage connected to a charger. Never leave the battery charging inside the house, however. The charging process releases hydrogen gas, which can be a fire hazard.

If you use your car frequently and do not want to remove your battery, installing a battery blanket is an excellent alternative. The blanket wraps around the battery cover and has a cord to plug it into a wall outlet. The blanket will produce enough heat to prevent the battery from freezing and is easy to use.

Proper winter preparation is essential for any vehicle owner. It is something that simply shouldn’t be put off. Getting an inspection and using proper storage techniques can end up saving you time, money and unnecessary frustration.

If you’re unsure of the current state of your batteries, our ten retail locations are equipped with courtesy battery inspection tools so we can learn your battery’s age, CCAs and remaining performance. For more information or to check out the services we provide, visit us online.

Categories: Bauer Built Blog, Car Care Tips