Battery 101: Winterizing Car Batteries

Anyone who lives in a cold environment knows the strains winter imposes on your batteries. If the battery is weak to begin with, you can bet a hard freeze will leave your battery deader than a doornail.

Contrary to popular belief, the type of battery you have rarely makes a difference – Gel or AGM doesn’t matter. If your battery is weak and it’s cold, you’re asking for your battery to call it quits.

Winterizing your battery for the long winter months can go a long way in ensuring you will have a fully charged battery waiting for you when spring hits. Here’s how!

Charge It Up

The number one important rule before putting a battery away for the winter: make sure it’s fully charged. This doesn’t mean you can walk away and forget it. This means your battery needs to begin its time in storage with a full charge – and then you need to check on it periodically and recharge as needed.

One way to avoid having to come back and recharge every so often is to hook it up to a trickle charger. This will allow you to not have to worry about whether or not it’s charged. You still can’t just walk away and forget it, though. You’ll need to check on it to make sure that everything is working the way it should be.

Manage The Temperature

Believe it or not, batteries are susceptible to extreme temperatures just like you are. The hotter the weather, the faster the battery will discharge. The colder the battery is will cause freezing if the battery is not fully charged.

A partially charged battery will begin to freeze in temperatures as high as 20℉. When a battery is allowed to freeze, the damage done internally is irreversible. If the case cracks due to freezing, you could be looking at a big mess to clean up.

Your best bet is to make sure you keep the fully charged battery in a dry cool place. Out of sunlight, away from heater vents, and in an area that will keep the battery away from the dangers of the harsh cold or direct heat.

Get Rid Of The Dirt

The last, yet equally important, step to keeping your battery alive and well through the winter is to clean it and then keep it clean.

Dust, dirt, and corrosion are high on the list of reasons your battery discharges faster than it should.

Dirt and dust allow for the collection of moisture which can create an electrical current flow from one battery post to the other. This discharge pathway allows the battery to self-discharge at a rate faster than it would naturally.

By cleaning the battery before you put it away for the winter, and then keeping it clean while it’s in storage will keep your battery in tip top shape until you’re ready to use it again.

Storing your battery for the winter is a breeze as long as you know the how and the why. By keeping the battery charged you’ll be able to install your battery and go come spring. By keeping it clean you’ll be making sure that your battery isn’t draining faster than it should. And by keeping it out of extreme temperatures you’ll be ensuring that your battery avoids the discharge strain that can cause an early end to its life cycle.

So make sure you winterize your batteries this year and enjoy the boost of performance you’ll be sure to get this spring!