There is a difference between needing a new battery this winter versus putting your current battery on a trickle charger.
The most common annoyance this winter will be your battery. The cold weather is harsh on your battery which is why it’ll have some trouble starting first thing in the morning.
Do you need a new battery? Or, can you get away with a trickle charger? Do you know the difference?
That’s what this post is about 🙂
New Battery vs. Trickle Charger
My article “Why Does My Car Battery Die In Cold Weather” is all about, well, why your battery dies in the cold weather. So, I’ll be quick.
As a recap: The fact of the matter is that your car battery will last maybe 5 years. However, newer cars have more electronics that are running all the time, and extreme weather changes shorten the life of your battery to about 3 years.
According to AAA, “at 0°F, a car’s battery loses about 60 percent of its strength and at 32°F it loses 35 percent.” Which means that in cold temperatures you are already losing strength and starting up your car requires more battery strength than in normal conditions; your engine is cold, your oil is cold, and you use more electronics like heat, defrost, and heated seats (let’s be honest now, that’s the best feature the car industry could have ever created). All of these extras require more oomph, and if your car battery is old, cracked, or not charged completely, you will walk out to a dead car in a snowstorm.
Now, what about a trickle charger?
Yes, they do work wonders, but is it right for you?
If you commute every day using one vehicle then no. You do not need a trickle charger but you may need a new battery if it keeps dying.
If you store your vehicle over the winter months then YES! You need a trickle charger.
Whether you have an old or new vehicle, you need a trickle charger. You also need a strong battery, to begin with.
There are numerous chargers out there but the point is to MAINTAIN your current battery life. That way, when you do start it up come Spring, you won’t have any issues. But first, you need a strong battery that isn’t over 5 years old and runs great, to begin with. If you put a trickle charger on an old battery, you’re going to get the same results as you would without one.
A trickle charger is a small battery that has a positive and negative cable that hooks up to your current battery. Normally, it will maintain the strength of your current battery level for 3 hours then shut off, then come back on again through the time it’s hooked up. It sends a small amount of energy to your battery to keep it well maintained. It won’t jump your car and it won’t charge your car if it’s already dead. It just maintains your current battery level. Perfect for winter or long-term storage.
So, the key here is checking your current battery. If it is more then 5 years old and you live in a state that gets cold weather, please CHANGE it! There is nothing worse than going outside in 20-degree weather to a dead battery…