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Car Batteries In The Winter

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Winter is here, and your car battery knows it. Dead auto batteries are very common this time of year. As temperatures continue to drop, turning over your engine can take twice as much current and can significantly decrease battery output. According to AAA's Automotive Research Center your cars battery loses 35% of its power at 32°F and 60% of its power at 0°F. These statistics can easily impair a quality battery and drastically discharge a subpar battery.

Inside the plastic box of your battery are plates of materials like lead and lead dioxide. The plates are suspended in a mix of water and sulfuric acid, which forms an electrolytic solution. This solution allows electrons to flow between the plates -- that flow of electrons is essentially electricity. This chemical reaction slows down during the winter and fewer electrons are produced. For that reason, the starter motor has less energy which causes the engine to crank slowly.

Automotive Battery

The life expectancy of your battery is less than four years under normal conditions. These normal conditions include:

  • The battery goes through full charge cycles
  • The battery isn't subject to extreme temperatures
  • The battery is attached to a reliable and consistent charging system
  • You're not using your cars battery to charge your accessories (phone, GPS, iPod, exc.)

Most consumers don't meet these "normal" conditions and could notice a discharge in their batteries sooner. There are several warning signs that could indicate a battery breakdown such as: If you hear a grinding or clicking sound when you turn on the ignition, your vehicle cranks slowly when attempting to start, and your headlights dim when idling but brighten when the engine is revved. These are telltale signs of a battery problem and require immediate attention.

How can you prepare for a battery breakdown? Start by getting your battery tested. It is quick and easy! In less than 5 minutes a trained technician will check the charging system, voltage output and charging rate of your battery. Using a digital display, your battery check will provide a clear indication as to the condition of your battery. A second way to be prepared is to consider keeping a booster pack in your car. In case of a dead battery, a booster pack can jump start your car in seconds. Lastly, it is critical to unplug your cellphone and other electronic devices when you don't need them, especially when the car is not running. When your car is not running, your battery continues to supply power to these devices. Overtime its capacity can decrease from the effect of your devices drawing current from it.

Keep these tips in mind during the winter season, but when all else fails and it's time for a new car battery come see us at Battery Giant. We are the battery experts and offer completive pricing on a large selection of automotive batteries.

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