Car Battery Tips For Winter

15th May 2023

Battling the cold weather

Flat batteries are incredibly common, especially in winter. No matter what vehicle you are driving, the battery can be affected by the colder conditions in winter months. It does tend to be older batteries that have more issues, so if the battery in the vehicle is less than three years old, it is not as likely to have these problems.

But how exactly does the cold weather cause battery issues? Well, the vehicle's battery undergoes a chemical reaction producing a charge. This charge powers the starter motor as well as other parts of the vehicle like the headlights. Cold weather slows down that chemical reaction, reducing its ability to hold the charge needed to start the vehicle.

Keeping the vehicle's battery charged in winter

Electric Car Charging

When you regularly use a car, the alternator ensures that the battery remains fully charged. So, with newer batteries, as long as you are regularly driving the vehicle, you should not have to worry about making sure the battery is charged during winter. With fleet vehicles, sometimes they do not get used as regularly as others, so it is important to make sure you are maintaining the vehicle properly if it is not in use during winter months.

But, if the battery is more than three years old, these are some things you can do to ensure it remains charged.

  • Use a trickle charger: This type of device will gradually charge the battery and keep it at full capacity. This is a handy solution for vehicles being stored during winter months, so it is a useful piece of kit to get for fleet vehicles that are not being used as regularly.
  • Keep the vehicle covered: If you have anywhere you can store the car, so it is not in the direct cold weather, it will help the battery.
  • Be more mindful about turning everything off: The little things you may usually do anyway are even more important during winter months, like switching off all of the lights before leaving the vehicle, so it does not drain the battery.

Electric car batteries

Colder temperatures are going to have a negative impact on the battery life in an electric vehicle, but there are things you can do to make sure you are optimising the battery as much as possible.

You are likely to get fewer miles from the battery as well as longer charging times in colder temperatures thanks to the cold affecting the movement of the lithium ions in the battery, reducing electricity production.

Driving more efficiently by going at a steady speed and avoiding sudden braking and acceleration will help to prolong the battery life. If the vehicle has an 'eco-mode' this can also help as well as covering the vehicle or keeping it in a garage overnight to keep it warmer.

Preheating the vehicle will also help to warm up the battery, but this should be done while the vehicle is still plugged in, or you will be using the battery to heat the car, therefore being counterproductive. Regenerative braking will also help and is more effective when the vehicle is warmed up.

Battery maintenance

Skoda Front in Snow

It can be difficult to preserve a battery using the methods above if it is quite an old battery anyway. So, to try and avoid any damage to the battery, take better care of it during its whole lifespan, so you can make it last longer.

Driving the car regularly is key. The alternator will charge the battery whilst the vehicle is driven, enhancing the battery's life. When a vehicle is not driven regularly, the battery life will suffer as a result.

If the vehicle is fairly modern, many of them are fitted with features that allow you to check the charge on the battery. It is handy to know whether the vehicle you are driving has this feature, so you can use it properly and see the charge of the battery easily.

Getting a battery check is the best way to find out if the vehicle's battery is healthy, which can be done by a trained technician or during a service.

Get your battery tested at Pendragon Vehicle Management

We trust that these methods will help you to beat the cold and get the most out of your vehicle's battery.

It is also important to get the battery and other aspects of the vehicle checked regularly, which can be done through a service or vehicle health check. Get in contact with us for more information on the services we can provide, so you can keep your vehicles in the best shape possible.