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Cold Snap: How Winter Weather Impacts European Car Batteries

winter vehicle maintenance, car battery testing in Colorado Springs, CO. Mercedes Benz 280SL parked showing the car battery | Legend Motor Works

Where Integrity Drives Quality: Your Trusted Auto Repair Partner

Colorado winters can be magical when the snow flies, ski lodges open, and people cozy up by fireplaces to relax after a hard day at work or on the slopes. The holidays are just around the corner, and people are getting ready to make memories with family and friends. However, our vehicles don’t have it as good as we do unless you have a heated garage. Once the temperatures begin to drop, car batteries start to decline. A good battery is a must during the harsh Colorado winters.

Cold Weather Impact on Batteries in Colorado Springs

When the cold sets in, there’s a higher risk of being stranded because of a car battery, thanks to how cold weather affects car batteries. Legend Motor Works in Colorado Springs CO, can test the battery and help you maximize battery performance in cold weather. The cold impacts batteries in several ways, including:

Reduction of Battery Capacity

A car battery produces a chemical reaction to create electricity used to power your vehicle. Without it, the car won’t start, and some accessories won’t work. Car batteries are at peak performance at above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and below about 113 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the type of battery. As the temperature drops, the battery’s ability to provide power drops. Below-zero temperatures can deplete up to 60 percent of a battery’s power.

Increased Engine Strain

During the winter, the oil in your car becomes thicker, which makes the vehicle harder to start. It also increases the strain on the battery, which reduces the battery’s lifespan. Combining reduced capacity and increased demand can significantly shorten a battery’s lifespan and could leave you with a dead battery on a cold Colorado Springs CO, morning.

Self-Discharge Rate

In addition to issues with the cold, every battery has a natural self-discharge rate. When it’s warm, the rate is relatively slow. However, cold temperatures increase the self-discharge rate, leading to further degradation of the battery, especially if it is older.

Signs of a Weak Battery

Identifying the symptoms of a weak battery can help you avoid becoming stranded. Signs of a weak battery include:

  • The engine cranks slowly.
  • The headlight or interior lights dim when you start the vehicle.
  • Electronics behave erratically.
  • The battery or charging warning light illuminates.

Winter Battery Maintenance in Colorado Springs

Legend Motor Works in Colorado Springs CO, can help with European car battery challenges, including winter battery maintenance and overall European vehicle battery care. Before winter temperatures set in, you can take certain steps to give your car’s battery every chance it has to survive the winter, including:

  • Have an auto technician at Legend Motor Works test the battery’s capacity and condition.
  • Replace a weak battery, especially if it’s close to its expiration date. If the battery is fairly new but weak, you may be able to charge it. If you choose this route, always check the battery within a couple of weeks to ensure it’s still holding a good charge.
  • Remove any corrosion on the battery terminals, as it restricts the flow of electricity. You can remove corrosion with a mixture of baking soda and water.
  • If you expect the winter temperatures to get extremely cold, invest in a battery insulation kit to help maintain a stable temperature around the battery.
  • Drive your car regularly. If you can’t drive it due to the weather, at least start it and let it run for about a half-hour to help maintain the battery’s charge.
  • Parking in a garage or covered area during the winter also helps increase battery life.
  • Check the alternator when you check the battery to ensure it is charging properly.
  • If you expect your vehicle to sit for weeks at a time, invest in a battery minder.
  • Always let your vehicle warm up gradually when starting it in the winter. Warming the vehicle allows the oil to thin a bit and circulate properly. It also eases the load on the battery if you let the vehicle warm before driving at highway speeds or revving the engine.

Contact Legend Motor Works To Get Your Car Battery Tested Today

Whether you need maintenance or repair for your Japanese or European vehicle or hybrid vehicle, contact Legend Motor Works at (719) 394-9686 for an appointment. We are conveniently located at 21 Commerce St., Colorado Springs CO 80907.

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