Winter brings more than a few challenges. Pitch black mornings, freezing cold walks to the car, definitely no trips to the beach – it’s a rough time of year for a lot of people.
What doesn’t make it better is some car trouble. When the mercury drops, you’re not the only one who’s feeling sluggish. Cold weather can have a major impact on how your car runs, making even a simple thing like getting the engine started a pain.
On those frosty mornings when the car won’t start, the culprit is most likely your battery. The last thing you need is to be stuck in your driveway trying to get your commute started, so let’s take a look at why your battery might be failing you when all you want to do is get on the road. We’ll also share a few tips you can follow to minimise how long you’re struggling to get the engine running.
How does cold weather affect your car battery?
Just like how temperature affects how smoothly your engine oil flows and how effective a lubricant it is, a cold battery performs very differently to a hot battery. The reason why is because of the way a car battery is designed – nearly all diesel and petrol cars use what’s called a wet cell battery, which relies on an electrolyte liquid to help generate power.
Below a certain temperature, this electrolyte liquid suffers a dip in performance. Low temperatures slow the chemical reaction that the battery relies on to generate power, making it less effective and taking longer to start your car.
These problems can be worsened by Australia’s hot summers. High temperatures reduce the lifespan and total capacity of a battery, so that heatwave six months ago combined with some infrequent use during lockdown could mean that the battery has a very low level of charge.
What can you do?
As a rule, storing your car in a covered, locked garage is going to protect your car much better than parking it on the street or in an exposed carport. An insulated, preferably climate-controlled garage will mean your car isn’t exposed to the absolute depths of winter, helping you get a faster start to your mornings on even the chilliest days.
Even if you can’t help the weather, you can help what condition your battery is in. Dirty terminals or corrosion can further affect your battery’s ability to start your car. Regular maintenance can minimise corrosion and ensures a better contact between the terminal and the battery, giving you the best chance of a quick, reliable start every time even in cold weather.
Help when you need it
Gone shopping on a frosty morning and the car won’t start? Carbar is there to help. As part of your weekly Carbar subscription, you get 24 hour roadside assistance anywhere in Australia, ensuring that if you’re ever stuck with a flat tyre, a bad battery or some other problem that’s put a crimp in your travel plans.
Keep your life moving the flexible way with Carbar. Sign up today and enjoy exclusive use of the car of your choice, bundled with insurance, registration, all servicing and – of course – roadside assistance.
To learn more about car subscription, browse our range of vehicles or join for free, visit carbar.com.au today.