It’s time to be honest. I was not prepared yesterday. You’ve likely heard about the Polar Vortex. And while it’s cold, I wasn’t affected too much. Apparently my car was, however, since I couldn’t get it to start in time for work yesterday morning. Aside from ourselves, it’s important to not forget about how sudden and extreme cold can hurt our cars.
Many people will think that their fuel has frozen. It makes sense, being a liquid. But that’s not the case. More times than not, if your car won’t start due to the cold, its because the change killed your battery. Not only does a change in temperature affect the batteries capacity, but a super cold engine trying to crank itself to life will absolutely drain it as well.
This kind of problem will be drastically more possible depending on the age of your battery. Mine came with my car, so I don’t know it’s age or quality, another failure to prepare on my part.
How To Prevent It
There are two simple ways to avoid this happening.
- Run Your Vehicle Daily
- Keep Your Vehicle Warm
The first one is normally easy if you have a Monday through Friday job, until you hit the weekend. That’s exactly what happened to me after all (I had Wednesdays off). Cars will recharge themselves using the alternator. So as long as they have enough charge to start, they can sustain yourself.
The other option can only be realistically achieved by parking it in a personal garage.
What To Do If This Happens
The realistic answer: jumpstart your car. Usually, this is done with the help of a jumper car, but some folks or places will have a special device that pulls from a wall outlet. Follow the correct jumpstart process and you should be fine. If you suspect your car battery is bad, you may want to havea trusted mechanic look at it. Not the front clerk as AutoZone, however. They mean well, but may not have the knowledge or experience to see the more hidden signs of a bad battery.
Moral of the Story: start your car regularly in severe cold.