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, it leaves you stopped in your tracks.
The cold temperatures will reduce your battery voltage. Cold temperatures combined with the age of your battery can cause problems and keep you home when you need to be mobile.
Is this your car battery?
What to Do?
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 is ok to proceed with the cables. if you turn the key and hear absolutely nothing, then there’s a chance you have a big ice cube under your hood.
Your battery contains a mixture of sulfuric acid and distilled water. When the battery is fully charged the two are combined and won’t freeze. But if you have a low charge (as can be the case in 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 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.
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 unfortunately, this will take hours. If you suspect the battery was frozen for more than a few hours, there is a possibility the battery is permanently damaged. If you have a spare battery and know how to change them out, this is the time to use it.
After your battery's overnight stay all tucked in and warm, look inside the cells. If you see water, then it is safe to reinstall the battery, give it a little goose and see if it’s still alive. If so, then 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 and preparation, 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.
We Can Help!
If you are worried about any of these scenarios or need help walking through the process of what to do, call or come on in and see us at Sallas Auto Repair and we can help you.
If you want to try and avoid this situation before it happens and feel your battery needs to be checked, come in and we can check out your battery and if needed, set you up with a new one to avoid being stuck at home.