Winter Car Battery Maintenance Tips and Advice – Keep Your Vehicle Running All Winter


Your battery will be put to the test during the winter months. Nothing is worse than your car not starting in the morning when you’re about to head to work.  It almost feels like your car battery knows that winter is the worst possible time to kick the bucket.

Car battery manufacturers are constantly pumping time and money into research, but the basic concept of a battery has essentially remained for a century. There are no magical ways to shield your vehicle from winter (other than a heated garage), but properly maintaining your battery is the next best thing.

Well, it’s true that your car battery can die in the middle of summer, there’s clearly more needing replaced in the cold of winter. Extreme hot or cold temperatures are unkind to car batteries and their ability to operate properly. According to Industrial Battery Products, lead acid battery drops roughly 20 percent when the weather goes from normal to freezing. When temperatures bottom out at -30C, your battery will typically operate at only 50 percent of its normal capacity. Hence the reason why there are so many vehicles with dead batteries during the end of January and beginning of February.

The best way to not get stuck in the middle of winter is to have your battery tested at your local automotive repair shop before the cold weather hits. This will give you a good gauge towards understanding how well your battery will perform in the upcoming months. It’s also important to have regular maintenance performed on your battery to increase its lifespan.

The starter in a car requires a large amount of amperage to get going, even more in the winter. If a battery is already struggling this increase in strain won’t help. Winter driving also places a lot more strain on your battery. Think about how much more you use your wipers and lights. Having regular oil changes can help reduce wear on the battery by making it easier for your car to drive and start up.

Age isn’t kind to a vehicle’s battery. Birds fly, fish swim and it’s a scientific fact that your battery will need to be replaced at some point.  Cold will amplify any age-related issues your battery is experiencing.

Summer months can also cause problems for your battery. High temperatures have the opposite effect on a battery’s capacity of lead acid. Temperatures shifting upwards can also cause trouble for your car’s battery, especially once the mercury rises to 25C.

It’s not uncommon for summer temperatures to cause the electrolyte in your battery to actually evaporate, so it’s important to have your mechanic top it up before winter. Low electrolyte levels will cause a lot of damage to your battery quickly.

Any time your battery is operating in an extreme temperature you’re at risk of having an issue. It’s important to keep your battery fully charged during the winter. According to data from Interstate Battery, a weak battery will start to freeze at 0C, while a fully charged and functioning battery will instead begin to freeze at -60C.

Stop by your local repair shop and have your battery’s load and electrolyte tested. Also, have the technician check your battery’s connections for signs of corrosion before winter arrives. You’ll want to ensure that your battery isn’t falling victim to a parasitic drain.  Sometimes these drains are hard to locate and an ammeter may be needed to properly diagnose the issue.

At Kingston Nissan we service and repair all makes and models. We’re a Kingston, ON automotive repair centre that strongly believes in providing high-quality car repairs for an affordable price. We’re more than happy to help with all of your battery and vehicle power system needs. Stop by and have your battery fully diagnosed by one of our experienced technicians and make sure you’re good for everything winter can throw at you!