Climate conditions are one of the factors that affect a car’s battery performance in that it can reduce the battery’s performance and, in the long run, damage the battery. For example, a frozen battery often occurs when the temperature drops to -26 degrees Celsius. However, having a frozen battery means the battery can be fixed and used again. But how can we know when the battery is frozen? And how do we bring the battery back to life?
A frozen battery can be detected by checking the voltage, which will indicate if the battery is frozen or dead. A frozen battery cannot be jumpstarted like a dead one, as a frozen battery will explode when jumpstarted.
Why do I have a frozen battery?
The fluids in the battery form an electrolyte, which reacts chemically with the lead plates to generate electricity. The solution has a low freezing point and is unlikely to freeze when you have a fully charged battery. However, if your battery is drained, the freezing point of the electrolyte rises, potentially leaving you with a cold battery. Also, if your battery is weak, it may begin to freeze even if it is not exposed to severely cold temperatures.
Signs of a frozen battery
Specific external indicators can identify a frozen battery. Here are some ways to discover if your automobile battery is frozen.
- Cracked or protruding battery case. Water dimension increases when it becomes frozen, which can cause a crack or bulge in the case.
- No sound of liquid when the battery is shaken
- No engine crank when the battery is frozen.
Steps to revive a frozen battery
A frozen battery can be restored to its original condition and used again. It is not a difficult task. Below are the simple techniques for reviving a frozen battery.
- Inspect the battery: The first step is to determine whether or not the battery is genuinely frozen. There could be additional issues, or the battery could be dead. So, double-check whether the battery is frozen or not. Do not attempt to inspect the battery if the fluid leaks or the battery shows damage. Instead, get a mechanic to assist you; otherwise, you can Disconnect the battery safely. Remove the battery lids and inspect the battery fluid and each battery cell’s condition. However, if your sealed lead acid battery is frozen and there are no damage indicators, you’ll need to see a mechanic. It is because you won’t be able to open the battery and check the fluid level.
- Thaw out the battery: If your vehicle has a block heater, turn it on for a minimum of two or three hours. Afterward, recheck the battery, and it should have thawed by now. If not, you should examine the heater because there could be an issue other than a frozen battery. However, you can decide to thaw it by placing the battery under sunlight or using a hairdryer to thaw it.
- Charge the battery: The battery should be melted at this stage. Check to see if it has thawed before charging it. It is necessary to charge a frozen battery. However, make sure the battery shell is not fractured or cracked before plugging it into the charger.
How to prevent frozen car batteries?
Here are some ways to keep your car battery from freezing:
- Park Your Vehicle in A Warm Environment: Freezing temperatures may cause your battery to die or become weak. You can park your car in the garage or under a parking tarp to prevent the battery from being frozen.
- Drive regularly: Regular driving warms up your engine, battery, and other components. Short car rides deplete the battery since the alternator is not given enough time to charge. Driving often keeps the battery acid circulating and keeps it from freezing.
- Turn off all electrical components: Before turning off your engine, turn off all electrical equipment such as the lights, windshield wipers, and radio to avoid battery drain.
- Invest in an AGM battery: Normal lead-acid batteries are more susceptible to cold damage than AGM batteries. They also discharge more slowly, which makes them suitable for colder climates.
- Use a battery charger and a battery cover: Using a trickle charger can help prevent frozen battery. The charger preserves the battery from being discharged too quickly. You may safeguard your charged battery even more by putting it in a battery blanket to keep it warm.
- Use antifreeze: Another way to keep your car battery from freezing is to maintain the engine’s temperature. Antifreeze, an engine coolant, can be used to manage the temperature during cold weather.
Effect of cold on a car battery?
- Capacity Reduction: The battery’s capacity is reduced by about 20% at 32°F. It can drop by 50 percent at -22°F.
- Thickening of Engine Oil: Engine oil thickens at cold temperatures, causing the battery to do more work
- Reduced battery Recharge Rate: Batteries recharge much more slowly in chilly conditions.
Safety measures to take with a frozen battery
You can take some measures to protect the battery and yourself if you have a frozen battery. Here are some of them:
- Wear protective gear: It protects you from acid leaks or even the explosion of the battery. Any dealing with a car battery should involve protective equipment.
- Don’t jumpstart a frozen battery: most people naturally jumpstart a frozen battery which may cause the battery to explode. It is paramount that the battery is inspected first before jumpstarting to determine whether it is dead or frozen.
- Ensure the battery is connected correctly before charging: using the wrong terminal to connect a battery can damage the battery or even result in its explosion.
- Make sure the car battery is always charged: a charged car battery doesn’t get frozen. Ensuring that your car battery is always charged can save it from being frozen even in freezing temperatures.
Frozen batteries occur in colder climates and can be very challenging. Some effect of a frozen battery is the car not starting and a swollen battery. However, by thawing a frozen battery, it can be useful again. A frozen battery and a dead battery have similar symptoms; however, you can determine which is wrong and apply the appropriate fix by inspecting the battery. There are ways frozen batteries can be prevented, which are listed above. It is recommended to call for professional help if you can handle your frozen battery.