Winter battery care

We have all done it! We  carefully clean and then put away our classic vehicles, motorbikes, or even the garden tractor-mower meaning to give their batteries a regular charge. Somehow that relatively simple task has a habit of getting forgotten and the next time we want to use it, the battery is flat.

Cold weather is a real enemy of traditional automotive 12V batteries. As the temperature falls so too does your battery’s ability to provide electrical energy; the reason for this is that a battery relies on a chemical reaction to generate the current required to operate electrical circuits such as ignition and the all important starter motor.  Chemical reactions slow down as temperature decreases, so your battery produces less power when cold than when it’s at summer temperature.

If not regularly charged a battery naturally looses charge due to internal leakage between the terminals. This is compounded in modern vehicles by the constant current drain needed to keep the many computerised systems and anti-theft devices alive. A real danger is that a discharged battery then gets cold enough for the weakened electrolyte to freeze, and if that happens you need a new battery, full stop!

One way to revive a normally discharged battery that won’t perform in winter is to warm it up, but that is an inconvenient and lengthy process even if you have a fan heater and a 240V supply available.

Best of all is to use a Battery Conditioner/Maintainer such as our low-cost Automatic Battery Conditioner. It will automatically keep any 12V battery fully charged, is used in situ, and can be left unattended until warmer weather returns. It will also dramatically increase battery life as it gently cycles the cells during periods of storage.