How to Get Your Car Battery Ready for Winter

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Car battery basics
The way a car battery reacts to temperature
Keep the battery clean
Keep the battery charged


It is never too early to start thinking about winter preparations in Alaska, especially for your car. Winterizing your car is essential for driving in Alaska and one of the most crucial parts of making sure that your car is ready to roll this winter will be making sure that your battery is ready for the winter.

Car battery basics

You depend on your car battery to operate properly in order for your car to be able to start. Everyone knows that, but not everyone is aware that taking certain steps to care for your battery can make or break its performance later on.

First, and most obviously, the way the battery is connected makes a tremendous difference in the performance or lack thereof of your car battery. If you leave the connection loose, you could possibly hit a bump in the road and knock the connection off. This would cause the car to lose all power and stop wherever you were driving. This is obviously something that could be incredibly dangerous.

Also, car battery connections can become corroded over time. Be sure that your battery’s connections are not corroded, if they are, then get your battery serviced or replace the battery.

Next, the battery should not be that old because batteries lose the ability to hold a charge over time. The older a battery gets, the more likely it could end up dying on you. You should replace your car battery every five years.

The way a car battery reacts to temperature

As you might expect, the temperature outside has a considerable effect on the battery. Very hot temperatures (over 90 degrees) can accelerate corrosion on the inside of a car battery. This can considerably lower a battery’s ability to retain a charge.

Cold temperatures can affect the battery’s ability to provide power to the car. The colder out it is, the slower your battery can effectively deliver power to your car. If it is cold enough, batteries can even freeze. This is fairly rare, but it can occur. It is dependent on the level of charge your battery is carrying.

Keep the battery clean

Like pretty much anything else in your car’s engine, how clean your battery is directly affects its performance. Obviously, you should make sure that you wipe away any excess dirt or grime, but corrosion is the biggest issue in terms of keeping the battery clean.

After the warmer summer months, your battery likely has a bit more corrosion than normal. Before the winter cold hits, you should clean any corrosion and dirt from the battery.

Here is how you can clean your car battery:

  1. Mix some baking soda with some water
  2. Take the cables off the battery (the car must be off before you do this).
  3. Take an old toothbrush and dip it in the baking soda and water mixture, then start gently scrubbing off the corrosion and dirt.
  4. Wipe off any residue left from the baking soda.
  5. Put a bit of petroleum jelly on the battery terminals (this will help prevent corrosion in the future).
  6. Re-attach the battery cables.


Keep the battery charged

As we already mentioned, your car battery loses its ability to hold its charge as time goes on. Extreme temperatures in the winter can help accelerate how quickly your battery can lose its charge. This is obviously something that you should be concerned with if you live in Alaska. However, there are some simple ways that you can help keep your battery charged.

Here are some tips to help keep your car battery charged:

  • Wait a few moments before you turn on your accessories – In the winter you might want to turn everything on as soon as you jump in your car but if you wait a minute or two before you turn the heat, lights and radio on you will give the battery a chance to grab some charge off of the alternator.
  • Park the car with the front facing away from the wind – The car should always be parked with the front facing away from the primary direction of the wind. So, if the wind is blowing north the car should be facing north. This way the majority of the wind is hitting the rear of the car which will protect the battery from the wind and its effects. If you have a garage to park your car in that is even better.
  • Keep the battery clean – We know we just mentioned it above, but it is worth mentioning again, keeping your car battery clean greatly improves performance and overall battery life.
Category: Alaska Car Shipping.