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Why cold weather kills your car battery

It never fails during cold weather, you step outside to crank your vehicle and all you hear is the sound of silence or your starter clicking.

Millions of Americans battle car problems during the winter months, and there's a reason for that. Cold weather in general puts a strain on your car and its components, therefore requiring more energy.

AAA reports that during cold weather, your car battery loses about 35 percent of its strength when temperatures are 32 degrees, and about 60 percent of its strength when temperatures are near 0.  This means that a strong battery becomes a weak battery, and a weak battery essentially ends up dead.  The reason for the loss of strength has a lot to do with chemistry.  The chemical reaction that takes place in a battery is slower during colder weather, therefore putting less electrical energy in the reserve.

There are ways to prevent car troubles during cold weather.  One of the easiest and most efficient ways is to make sure you have a new battery, that is checked every season. On the mornings that your car doesn't start, AAA experts say that you should check the battery connections to make sure there is no corrosion around the wires.  If you are having trouble starting your vehicle, because of the lack of power in the battery be sure to turn off all power drains in your car before starting your car.

It's also important to make sure you buy a battery with a decent CCA number. CCA stands for Cold Cranking Amps.  When you buy batteries, they have a CCA number of anywhere from 400 to about 1500.  Essentially CCA is the amount of power output used to start a cold engine.  The lower the number, the more likely you are to be left with a vehicle that won't start in cold weather.

It all boils down to the fact that the colder the engine, the more power it takes to crank it.  This is why it's important to always make sure you keep your vehicle up to date when it comes to maintenance.  Average life expectancy for batteries is anywhere from 3-5 years, anything beyond that is likely to leave you stranded in extreme temperature swings.


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