Keeping your car fully charged in frigid weather
October 26, 2010
In the often brutal cold winters of Northwest Colorado, one of the most important things you can do to make sure that you get to work, or for you and your family's safety, is to maintain your car's battery. An engine at -30° F requires double the battery power to turn it over at 60° F.
Prior to winter, it is essential that you have your battery and charging system checked. The battery cables and post should be cleaned and corrosion removed. If your battery is not maintenance free, remove the caps and make sure that the water level is to the bottom of the hole in each cell, if not, fill with distilled water.
Check the voltage. The battery in a 12-volt system is actually 12.6 volts at 100 percent charge. At 12.4 volts, the battery is only to 75 percent charge and needs to be serviced. Automotive technicians and many auto parts stores offer a charging system test to make sure that your battery and charging system are working properly and are ready for the coldest weather.
If you require a new battery, it is important that you choose the appropriate size for your vehicle. Check the owner's manual for proper cold cranking amps (CCA) and reserve capacity (RC) specifications for the battery. Never go with less power than recommended, and more power is always better.