Boise Auto Blog

Updates on cars, transportation and related subjects in Boise and Ada County.

Your battery is in pain

Cold weather is cruel to batteries. We're seeing a lot of people in Boise come in with weak and dead batteries as temperatures get into the single digits.

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According to Industrial Battery Products, lead acid battery capacity drops about 20% from normal in freezing weather and it loses half its power when temperatures sink to about -22 degrees F.

If that's not bad enough, your battery has more work to do in cold weather. When an engine is cold, the oil is thicker and the engine is much harder to turn over. At the same time, people are using accessories like the heater, seat warmer, defrosters and wipers. Even if the battery is new, cold weather can reduce ts capacity to where it can't start the car. The alternator, which recharges the battery, might not be able to keep up.

Some tips:

  • Batteries are meant to last 3 to 5 years. If yours is getting old, there's really nothing you can do except replace it.
  • Don't leave the lights, fans or heater on if the car isn't running. Normally, if you left the interior lights on for several hours, your battery should be fine. In cold weather, that could drain your battery enough to kill it.
  • If your battery is acting weird, call us and we can schedule a free diagnostic. We can load-test your battery, check the electrolytes and clean the connections if corroded. It may be a problem with your battery, or something else. If you do need a replacement battery, we can discuss your options.
  • Always keep jumper cables in your car. A dying battery often won't give much warning. Fortunately, it's usually not too hard to find another car to give you a jump.

Cold temperatures reduce battery power. An old battery just can’t do it anymore.

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