While the truth is that winter is a fairly common time for car batteries some sources actually suggest that there are more batteries in summer than in winter. So you may be dealing with confirmation bias, but that doesn’t mean you’re completely left margined. That’s why it’s a good idea to check your battery and spend regular battery maintenance fall before she leaves you stranded in a snowstorm.
The Science Behind Lead Acid Battery Technology actually shows, like hot and cold weather can be unkind to the life and operation of a car battery. While hot weather is a real battery killer, for a number of reasons, cold weather is also bad for car batteries.
Real Car Battery Killer: Extreme Temperatures
Lead-acid batteries are designed to operate over a fairly wide range of temperatures, but their performance degrades in both cold and hot conditions. According to Industrial Battery Products, the capacity of lead-acid batteries drops by about 20 percent of normal in freezing weather, to about 50 percent of normal when temperatures drop to -22 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the same way that extreme cold reduces the capacity of a lead-acid battery, high temperatures actually increase the capacity. In fact, a lead-acid battery can show an increase in capacity of about 12 percent at 122 degrees compared to 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
Of course, this increase in power is not without its own drawback. While higher temperatures result in increased performance, they also result in reduced service life.
Reason car batteries die in winter
There are three main factors that cause batteries to die in winter: reduced capacity, increased starter pull, and increased accessory pull. interior lighting, abandoned included, is not really a problem.
When you are driving to start your car, the starter requires a lot of current to get going. Under normal circumstances, your battery won’t make any claims, as the ability to produce a lot of current for a short amount of time is one of those things that ancient lead-acid battery technology is amazing with.
However, a battery that is already getting long in the tooth can have a lot of problems in the winter. And even if a battery’s capacity doesn’t decrease with age, temperatures that are at or below the freezing point can even blow a new battery’s capacity so low that it can’t meet the demands of a starter.
When you look at a battery’s vital statistics, Cold Crank Amplifiers (CCA) is a number that indicates how much current a battery can warm up. If the number is high, it means it is equipped to handle higher demands than a battery with a lower number, which in turn means it will perform better in cold weather when capacity decreases.
In some cases, especially in very cold weather, the motor current requirements may be even higher than normal, which can exacerbate the problem. The problem is that engine oil gets thicker in cold weather, especially if you’re running a single weight oil that doesn’t have different viscosities for cold and hot weather. When the oil becomes thick, the engine may be more difficult to turn over, which in turn may cause the starter motor to amp up.
Winter driving also tends to put more strain on the battery due to the need for accessories such as headlights and windshield wipers, which are typically used more frequently when the days are shorter and the weather is more likely to be unfavorable. If you don’t have high performance alternator your charging system may not be able to handle it. And since the battery may already be suffering from capacity loss due to cold temperatures, this can hasten the death of the old battery.
Reason car batteries die in summer
Just as cold temperatures greatly affect car batteries, they can also have a negative effect. In fact, high temperatures lead to a shortened battery life. This means that a battery that is constantly running at a mild 77 degrees Fahrenheit will last about 50 percent longer than a battery that is constantly exposed to temperatures around 92 degrees.
In fact, according to International Battery Products, battery life is halved for every 15 degrees at a standard operating temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit.