As you may have found out the hard way, a dead battery can put a real crimp in your day. It’s the number one winter automotive problem and when your battery dies you’re stopped in your tracks.
Cold temperatures will reduce your battery voltage and combined with the age of your battery can keep you home when you need to be mobile.
But if you do discover a dead battery when you head out in the morning take care when attempting to revive it. If it’s been a few days since you’ve driven or it’s excessively cold your battery can actually freeze and jumpstarting a frozen battery can be disastrous.
If your car cranks even a tiny bit your battery probably isn’t frozen and it’s ok to proceed with the cables but if you turn the key and hear absolutely nothing there’s a chance you have a big ice cube under your hood.
Your battery contains a mix of sulfuric acid and distilled water. When its fully charged the two are combined and won’t freeze. But if you have a low charge (as can be the case in low, low temps) the mixture is weak and the water can freeze. This can cause real damage to your battery regardless of whether you try to jump or not.
Pull off the cell caps and look inside. If you spot ice don’t try to jumpstart your car. Your battery could actually explode if you try to revive it and the last thing you want to encounter at any time of day is an exploding box of sulfuric acid.
So if you see ice inside you’ll need to warm up the battery before attempting to charge or jump it. This could mean bringing it inside your house or garage and waiting for it to warm up and this will take hours. There’s a possibility the battery is permanently damaged if it was frozen for more than a few hours. If you have a spare battery this is the time to use it.
After an overnight stay all tucked in and warm, look inside the cells. If you see water it’s safe to reinstall the battery, give it a little goose and see if it’s still alive. If so than you can be on your way.
Winter can be a real challenge to car owners and make us yearn for spring but with a little prevention we can make it through. If severe cold is in the forecast and you don’t have a garage you may be better off just removing the battery and bringing it indoors before it has a chance to freeze. There are also battery blankets, block heaters and trickle chargers that will also help. Come on in to Sallas Auto Repair and we can check out your battery and set you up with a new one to avoid being stuck at home.