Informational Guide

Can Cold Weather Kill a Car Battery?

Yes! We show you how to protect a car battery in cold weather so you aren’t stranded without a ride home.

You want your automotive battery to last as long as possible, so you need to know - can cold weather kill a car battery?

In this guide, we learn how to protect a car battery in cold weather. We will discuss ways to learn how to warm up a car battery in cold weather, so you aren't stranded without a ride to work. 

Can cold weather cause your car battery to die? Absolutely! The car battery doesn’t handle cold weather well. Why does cold weather affect the car battery? For starters, it creates a reduced capacity. When the temperature hits 32 degrees, the capacity of the battery drops 20-percent. It drops even further as the temperature goes down.

Additionally, the recharge rate while driving becomes diminished. You will need to drive longer and further to get the same charge as during normal temperatures. The load also becomes more increased as you use the heater, defroster, heated steering wheel, and windshield wipers, creating a larger strain on the battery.

Finally, oil in the engine becomes thicker during cold temperatures. As it starts to solidify, turning the engine over becomes more challenging, requiring more power from the battery. Forcing it to work this hard when the capacity is lowered can often cause the battery to die.

Does Cold Weather Affect Car Battery

How To Tell If Your Car Battery Is Frozen (+ How To Recover)

Does cold weather affect the car battery? It does affect the various aspects we previously discussed, and it can cause the battery to freeze. While it's not a common occurrence, extreme temperatures can create a frozen battery.

Some signs that your car battery might be frozen include:

  • Inability to start the car
  • Cracks in the case
  • No liquid sound when a flooded battery is moved
  • Bulging sides

If you think the car battery is frozen, here are some steps to take.

  1. 1
    Verify that the battery is frozen first. If there is still liquid inside, it is not frozen but might be dead. If it is dead, you might simply need some battery reconditioning to get it running again.
  2. 2
    Plug in the block heater if your vehicle is equipped with one.
  3. 3
    Remove the battery and place it in a warmed garage.
  4. 4
    Test the battery after it thaws and replace it if necessary.

How To Keep A Car Battery Warm In Cold Weather

Do you know how to keep a car battery from dying in cold weather? With these tips, you can learn how to keep a car battery warm in cold weather.

  • Have the battery checked. If the battery is dying, it’s time to get a new one.
  • Drive for longer periods when you go out, ensuring that the battery receives a full charge.
  • Park in a garage or warm location. If you can’t get the vehicle inside, park it close to a building, shielding it from wind and winter weather.
  • Wrap your car battery with a thermal blanket.
  • Keep the battery at full capacity with a best car battery tester.
Can Cold Weather Kill A Car Battery

What To Look For When Buying A Cold Weather Battery

How long will a car battery last in cold weather? It should operate normally if you buy the car battery charger. Here are a few things to look for in a new battery.

  • Deep reservoir for maximum capacity
  • A good warranty that will cover it if extreme temperatures deplete the battery prematurely
  • Corrosion-resistance to ensure the integrity
  • Maximum cold-cranking amps for quick starts
  • High-quality build to avoid defects

If the battery is rated for cold weather and comes from a reputable manufacturer, you should have nothing to worry about. If you already have a battery, just have it checked before the start of winter to ensure it will provide what you need.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can frost kill a car battery?

Will cold weather kill my car battery? Yes, but one frost isn’t going to wipe out a solid battery. A drop in temperature can reduce the capacity of the battery, which is why you want to ensure it is a good battery and is always charged.

How long can a car battery sit in cold weather?

A good battery can die in as little as ten days during cold months. If you aren’t using the battery, it’s best to store it in a warm location, hooked up to a trickle charger.

Can you leave a trickle charger on all winter?

Some trickle chargers can be left on for an undetermined amount of time as long as they enter a float mode when the battery is full. Otherwise, you might consider using a solar battery charger for faster results.

How long should I run my car to charge the battery in cold weather?

During the winter, you want to drive your vehicle for at least ten minutes at highway speeds. However, you should aim to drive longer and more frequently when the temperatures are cold.

How often should you start the car in winter?

If the temperatures have reached zero, it’s best to run your car for a little bit every day. At near-freezing temperatures, you may find that once a week is enough.


Can cold weather affect a car battery? We have shown you numerous ways that the car battery is affected by cold temperatures, but you can take steps to prevent being stranded. Protect your car battery this winter, and you will have no excuse to miss work or any important events.