How to Keep Your Car Battery From Freezing

by Arthur Barnhouse

Cold weather can wreak havoc on your car battery, especially if it is old or has a tendency to lose its charge. If you have such a battery, you're presented with the distinct possibility of very undesirable situation: finding yourself on a cold, wintry night with a car that refuses to start. You can avoid facing such dire circumstances by taking a few simple steps to help ensure that your battery is ready for the frigid temperatures of winter.

Clean your battery posts and terminals before winter strikes. Unhook the battery terminals from the battery using the appropriate-size box wrenches. Once unhooked, thoroughly clean the posts and terminals using battery post and terminal cleaner. Brush them until they are shiny and clean. No signs of corrosion should remain. When you're finished, be sure to properly tighten the terminals when fastening them to the battery posts.

Take your vehicle to a mechanic before the start of winter and have him check its electrical system. This is important because although the battery may be in good shape, the vehicle's alternator could be failing and in need of repair or replacement. If the alternator is not working correctly, your battery will not be fully charged. A partially charged battery is much more susceptible to freezing.

Charge your battery using a battery charger before an especially cold night. Make sure you get a full charge in the battery. A completely charged battery is safe in temperatures all the way down to -76 degrees F, according to AutoTrends.org. If you don't have a charger, your battery has been draining and you suspect the temperature to plummet below freezing, remove the battery and store it inside until the cold spell passes.

Purchase and install a new battery if you find that your old one is frequently dead or in need of charging. In the long run, a new battery will save you numerous headaches throughout the winter season. If the new battery fails to hold a charge, it is highly likely that the vehicle's electrical system is malfunctioning, and you will need to take the vehicle to a professional for servicing.

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About the Author

Arthur Barnhouse has written numerous short stories, contributed content to various websites and was an invited speaker at a university symposium on creative writing. He began writing in 2002 and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Pittsburgh. Barnhouse has driven across the United States numerous times and draws upon his travel experiences in his writing.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera winter image by ennavanduinen from Fotolia.com