Has the Very Cold Weather Hurt My Car or Boat Battery?

April 21, 2021 10:45 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The unusually cold temperatures lately can make car battery maintenance in Houston, TX a challenge. You might be aware that extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, can have a significant effect on your batteries. But has the recent cold weather hurt your car or boat battery? Here’s how to tell.

Has my battery been harmed?

If the battery was fully charged before the freeze, it might still be okay. If your battery was dormant before the freeze, however, it will probably fail earlier than expected. Sometimes this can be fixed by a good charge at a low rate for an extended period of time. We’ve found that a slow constant current charge can occasionally bring a battery back to life or even full performance. Luckily, warm weather is right around the corner. It is a good idea to have your batteries tested now to make sure there are no lurking issues.

Batteries that were not fully charged during the freeze are likely damaged beyond repair. As a battery discharges, the acid component of the liquid separates and soaks into the plates, leaving water surrounding the plates. The water can then freeze, compressing the plates and damaging them. In addition, there may be cracks in the battery casing, which allows lead-tainted water to run out onto the floor. A leak like this is an environmental issue—plus, it’s corrosive. If this happens to you, neutralize the solution with baking soda and water. Use paper towels and a bucket to store the used paper towels. Place the battery in the bucket or plastic tray and take it to your local recycling center. Some centers will even pay you a salvage value for the battery.

How to prevent dead batteries in cold weather

Taking care of car batteries in cold weather is key to their survival in Houston, TX. Next time the weather report indicates a cold snap, follow these tips:

  • Park your car in a garage: Parking your car indoors can protect it from the worst of the cold weather. (This is also a good idea when dealing with hot weather.)
  • Drive for 10 minutes every day: Just 10 to 20 minutes of driving per day can help keep your battery in good shape during cold weather. As long as you drive, the battery acid circulates and charges.
  • Get a trickle charger: If driving every day isn’t possible, a trickle charger can help keep the juices flowing—even if everything else is frozen. A low, slow charge can bring a battery back to full performance.
  • Wrap your battery in a thermal blanket: If your battery is disconnected for the winter, wrap it in a thermal blanket while you store it (upright) in your garage. You may want to hook it up to a trickle charger every month, too.

If you have questions about car or boat battery maintenance in Houston, TX, the team at Texford Battery Co. is happy to help. Call or stop by today to learn more about what we can do for you.

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