Watch for Battery Fatigue As Temps Drop During Winter

There are times when you just want to get home, and a dead battery is all that stands in the way.

Get yours tested to see if it’s ready for the cold.

“Problems created in extremely hot conditions manifest themselves when the weather turns cold,” said Jim McIlvaine of OPTIMA Batteries, known around the industry as OPTIMA Jim. “When it is cold there is lower chemical activity in the battery itself, which essentially makes a smaller box of energy.”

A battery loses half its charging power at freezing temperatures. Such a loss quickly puts a strain on the battery, and the rest of the vehicle’s charging system.

McIlvaine offered the following insight about battery performance and maintenance:

  • Inspect your vehicle’s charging system every three months or every oil change. Batteries that are more than three years old should be tested more frequently.
  • Always get the battery checked before taking a long road trip. Have a professional mechanic inspect battery cables, posts and fasteners.
  • Make sure replacement batteries meet or exceed manufacturer recommendations for your specific vehicle.
  • Store your vehicle inside during harsh weather or invest in a battery heater to prevent loss of power.