Unless you are using an electrically operated car, keeping your car battery in the best situation possible is crucial. Batteries can function on their own but there are instances where the functionality and reliability of a battery are cut short hence your plan with the car is cut short too.
Ideally, car batteries can last up to 3-4 years but they can also last less because of alternator faults, a prolonged period of discharge, extreme temperatures and many more. Among all of these, extreme cold weather does the most damage. This article will take you through what to look out for when buying your next car battery, the best car battery brand for cold weather and how to fix your car battery. So to say, you are getting prepared for this winter!
You should not go about changing your battery if you are not sure that it is damaged. Signs that your battery might need a replacement include difficulty starting the car, dim interior and exterior lights and perhaps when your car has been sitting for a long time.
Why exactly are car batteries at risk during extreme cold weather?
Well, the answer is not far-fetched. Car batteries use liquid or molten electrolytes which get affected during cold weather. Below a certain temperature, car batteries start draining. Sometimes, the drain leads to a permanent loss of the battery.
How to know the best car batteries for cold weather
Best car batteries for cold weather have these features; perfect size and spec, cold cranking power, reserve capacity, warranty and new production date.
Battery size and Spec
This refers to the size and terminal position that fits your vehicle. You can check this through the Battery Council International, BCI number which is usually pasted on the battery. Knowing the perfect size and spec ensures that the battery fits the battery tray of the car and it touches the battery cable.
If you are not sure which battery size to choose, check the one inscribed on your current battery.
Cold Cranking Amps
The best car battery for extreme cold weather has high cold cranking amps. CCA is a measure of how a battery will perform during cold weather when it is at its weakest.
It is important to note that high-cranking power doesn’t always mean the battery is the best, it just indicates the amount of energy that it will use in extreme weather conditions.
Reserve capacity refers to how long a car battery can deliver a certain ampere of current at normal temperature and voltage.
It is measured in minutes. Car batteries with 140 reserve capacity and above are suitable for most cars.
Most car battery brands offer a warranty when you shop for your battery directly from them. The warranty ensures that you get the maximum use of a car battery because you can get a replacement or a refund if it does not perform until the given time.
However, to be eligible for a change or refund, be sure that the battery had not suffered abuse or damage by you.
Unfortunately, car batteries start to deteriorate from the moment you purchase them. Hence, it is important to buy batteries with a production date not too far from the purchase date.
A car battery with a purchase date of six months and below is perfect for your car.
Best car battery brand for cold weather
In subsequent paragraphs, you will read about varying brands and pick your choice. Three of them are listed on Automoblog as the best car batteries for cold weather.
What characterises a good battery brand for cold weather is the kind of battery it is made of. Unlike traditional batteries, Absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries are good for cold weather. This is because they are constructed with a fibreglass mat which absorbs the electrolyte. The electrolyte is stored as a dried substance instead of liquid so there is no fear that it may lick. Also, AGM batteries are resistant to vibrations.
The Optima brand produces three batteries; Red top, Blue top and Yellow top. Optima batteries operate with a spiral cell technology that delivers high starting power in a short period.
Red Top optima batteries are made with AGM batteries, so it is suitable for cold weather. Yellow Optima batteries are known for their reserve capacity while the blue top is renowned for its deep cycle battery with high CCA. The 3-year warranty on optima batteries is also an added advantage.
Odyssey is a great brand for a reliable, lasting and quality car battery. With over 100 years of experience in manufacturing, they have developed the Extreme series, Performance series and Pro series.
These batteries are outstanding because of their extended service life, vibration resistance and extreme temperature resistance.
The Extreme Series has incredible deep cycling capabilities and rapid recovery,
Odyssey Pro Series charges faster than traditional batteries and the Performance Series has a high reserve capacity.
Absorbed Glass Mat technology is also used in the DieHard battery. DieHard batteries are renowned for their patented “Stamped Grid technology,” which makes them incredibly robust, upkeep-free, and resistant to vibrations. In conclusion, the DieHard Platinum is an excellent option for a car battery in cold climates.
The interstate brand produces the best car batteries for varying weather. Some of their series function more in places with hot temperatures and some perform optimally in cold regions. One of the advantages of this brand is that its batteries are manufactured to fit the size and specs of certain car models. You almost can never choose the wrong size with interstate batteries.
Interstate offers a warranty as long as you can present your original battery to their store or authorized dealer and the battery tests defective.
The NAPA Battery features optimal starting power and a high reserve capacity. The technology behind NAPA makes it reliable, high-performing and maintenance-free.
A few of the series in their products include; NAPA Optima Marine, NAPA Optima Commercial, and Legend premium automotive batteries. Additionally, NAPA batteries do not have high Cold Cranking Amps as other batteries but that does not mean that their performance is subpar.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why do I need a specific car battery for cold weather?
Cold weather can significantly affect a car battery’s performance, making it harder for the battery to start the engine. Specialized cold-weather batteries are designed to provide reliable starting power in low temperatures.
What are the best types of car batteries for cold weather?
The best car batteries for cold weather are typically AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) batteries, gel batteries, and some high-quality conventional (flooded) batteries with a strong cold-cranking amps (CCA) rating.
What is CCA, and why is it important for a car battery in cold weather?
CCA stands for Cold Cranking Amps, and it measures a battery’s ability to start an engine in cold temperatures. In cold weather, a higher CCA rating is crucial because it ensures the battery can deliver the necessary power to start the engine.
Can I use a regular car battery in cold weather, or do I need a specialized cold-weather battery?
You can use a regular car battery in cold weather, but it’s recommended to choose a battery with a sufficient CCA rating for your climate. Specialized cold-weather batteries are designed to perform better in extreme cold conditions.
Are there specific brands known for producing the best car batteries for cold weather?
Several reputable battery manufacturers produce high-quality batteries suitable for cold weather, including Optima, Interstate, AC Delco, and DieHard. It’s essential to choose a trusted brand and battery model.
In conclusion, AGM batteries are more suitable than traditional batteries in cold weather but they are more expensive. You can use this guide to prepare for a battery change this winter, however, if you are not sure that you understand the specifications and kind of batteries to buy, it is best to let a professional choose the best car battery brand for cold weather for you.