Experts say cold weather can lower car battery power by 60 percent

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s not just your home you have to be worried about in the cold. These frigid temperatures can also mean trouble for your vehicle.

It’s something no one wants to think about when the temperatures get this low — car troubles. One of the main problems people have is weak or dead batteries.

“When the temperature is zero degrees your battery loses 60 percent of it’s starting power,” said Shawn Steward, spokesperson for AAA South Dakota.

Weak batteries are much more likely to stall in the cold. That could mean you need a jump start or a replacement battery.

Jumper cables are a necessity but not all are created equal. Thin cables take longer and might not carry the power you need.

“In this type of weather, you can have a car battery that is stone dead, those things will take forever to charge the car up. If you get a heavier cable things will happen a lot faster,” Tom Broadbent said.

Tom Broadbent, owner of Airway Auto Service, says that while it is important to have the right equipment in your car, you should be careful when jumping your car. If you do it wrong, you can cause damage.

“There’s a danger in that these new cars are really susceptible to major issues if you happen to hook the cables up backwards,” Broadbent said.

To avoid problems, start and use your car often, get a battery charger or a block heater, and get your battery checked before colder weather comes in.

“Hot summers have an impact on batteries, it takes a lot of power to start a vehicle and it has to deal with the heat and it’s slowly tapping the power of that battery and like I said, batteries, have a life span of about three to five years,” Steward said.

AAA also recommends putting a winter kit together and leaving it in your car.

“It’s a good idea to be prepared for being stranded a period of time,” Steward said.

For your winter weather kit, you should have warm clothing, food, water and equipment like a shovel and kitty litter for getting out of snow. Also remember to watch your tire pressure during the colder months.

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