When the days and nights start to become cooler in the Phoenix area, it can have an impact on your car, truck, or SUV. Not only can the dropping temperatures play a role in your vehicle’s fluids functionality, it can cause some cold weather vehicle battery issues as well. You don’t have to be a car enthusiast or mechanic to know that your vehicle’s battery is a vital component to the overall performance and functionality of getting you to and from where you need to go. We are going to review some battery issues you may face as the seasons change and the temperatures are lower.
How Important is the Battery to Your Vehicle?
As mentioned above, a vehicle’s battery is an essential component that plays a vital role in the proper functioning of the vehicle. The car’s battery’s primary function is to provide the initial electrical power needed to start the engine, so if it’s not working properly, you likely will not even be able to turn your car, truck, or SUV on.
The battery also works to power various electrical systems and components in the vehicle, operate safety features, and more. Given its crucial role, a properly functioning and well-maintained car battery is essential for the reliable operation of a vehicle. Paying attention to this vehicle component and signs of issues can help to ensure a dependable and safe driving experience. With that said, let’s review some cold weather vehicle battery issues you may face as the weather starts to change.
What are Some Cold Weather Vehicle Battery Issues you may Face this Fall and Winter?
The cold weather can have a significant impact on your vehicle’s battery. Whether you are met with the dropping night time temperatures here in Phoenix, or traveling somewhere that is much cooler, it’s important to know that as the temperatures fall, so can your battery’s performance. Most batteries lose about 20% of their normal capacity around the freezing point, 32°F, and it only gets worse when temperatures drop further (Lifewire). Cold temperatures put a lot of stress on your battery, and that’s why the upcoming seasons are often a catalyst for car battery issues and replacements.
Below we review some cold weather vehicle battery issues that you may face as the seasons change.
- Reduced Battery Capacity: Because batteries lose their capacity in falling temperatures, cold weather can decrease the chemical reactions within the battery, reducing its ability to provide the electrical power needed for your vehicle to operate as it should. This means that a battery that is already weakened or aging may struggle to deliver the power needed to start the engine.
- Decreased Recharge Rate: The car’s battery recharges as you drive. The battery is charged by an alternator on modern cars. We won’t get into too many details, but if you want to know more about how this works, check out this article from “How a Car Works” to better understand this process. What’s important to know is that cold weather can slow down the recharge rate of your battery, which means the alternator requires more time to charge it and short trips may not get your battery charged up to its full capacity causing potential issues.
- Oil Thickening: To put this simply, in cold weather, engine oil becomes thicker and more viscous, which can make it harder for the engine to turn over. The thickened oil puts additional strain on the battery as it needs to supply more power to start the engine, which can lead to problems with being able to turn on your vehicle.
- Increased Load: As we reviewed above, the battery doesn’t just start the engine, it also plays a significant role in how other electrical components in the car function. With the colder weather often comes more use of electrical accessories like heaters, defrosters, and windshield wipers, all of which can put a strain on the battery, which can contribute to its depletion and reduce its overall performance.
We have reviewed several of the cold weather battery issues you may face in the upcoming months, but there are some things you can do to try and prevent them and keep your battery functioning as it should. These include:
- Driving Regularly and for Extended Periods and Distances
- Parking in a Garage
- Turning off and Unplugging Accessories
- Checking Your Battery’s Health and Testing its Capacity
- Keeping the Battery Terminals Clean
- Replacing an Older Battery
- Using a Battery Charger
By taking these precautions, you can help minimize the impact of cold weather on your vehicle’s battery and improve its performance.
Phoenix Vehicle Experts
It is important to prioritize the care and maintenance of your car’s battery to ensure a dependable and safe driving experience. At Advanced Transmissions & Emissions we are here for all of your Phoenix vehicle needs. Our Phoenix, AZ customers know us for our work with transmissions, but we can resolve any mechanical issues, including problems with clutches, steering, suspension, and other vehicle failures.
Contact us today for any of your vehicle needs.