Why does my car battery keep dying when it’s cold?
Wednesday 25th March 2020
We’ve all been there – turning the key in the ignition on a cold morning only to find the car refuses to start and we soon learn the battery is flat. But why do batteries seem to lose charge more in the cold weather?
Why is my car battery dying?
There can be numerous reasons why your car battery is dying – such as lack of use, accidentally leaving your headlights on (which inevitably drains the battery) or a fault with the battery itself. However, there is strong correlation between the cold weather and the effect it has on your car battery.
So, why do car batteries die in cold weather?
- Frozen battery solution
Typically, car batteries hold their charge by using a liquid electrolyte solution. However, this solution is directly affected by temperature – meaning that if the temperatures drop below a certain point, this can cause the solution to freeze and limit its ability to transfer full power to the battery.
- Systems draining battery power
Another contributing factor to why batteries can lose charge in cold weather is the way you use your vehicle. Generally, with the colder weather comes darker days – dark early mornings and darkness creeping in late afternoon - meaning that drivers will need to use their car systems more at this time of year, such as headlights. With the cold also comes the need to crank up your car’s heating to full power – meaning the battery can be drained quite easily during these chillier months by more frequent use of the car’s battery-dependant systems.
- Lack of use
Often with the colder weather comes a bout of ice or snow, which can prevent some drivers from being able to use their vehicle. This can be if they live in a remote rural area, an area that particularly suffers from ice and snow or if they are nervous drivers who don’t feel comfortable driving on icy roads. Batteries gradually lose charge when they are not being used frequently, which can then lead to them failing.
Unsure how to tell if your battery is experiencing problems? Spot the common signs your battery may be faulty with help from our guide.
What to do when car batteries die
If your battery has been drained, it’s possible to manually charge the battery yourself by using a car battery charger, which can be plugged into the mains. It’s always handy to keep one of these around so you’re prepared if a battery-related emergency arises!
However, in a lot of instances, the battery may have totally run out – which means that simply charging it will not work. Kickstarting a battery back to life can be done by jump starting the battery – this is done by using jump leads and another car’s engine to help do this, or a power pack.
If neither of the above solutions have worked, it’s likely your battery is experiencing a more serious problem. Locate your nearest Formula One Autocentre where our trained experts can provide a free battery health check and diagnose the issue. If you’re unsure what car battery you need, our team of experts can advise you. Learn more about our car battery services today.