Cold Weather and Car Batteries
Posted by Adelle Webber on
Why do you need heaters for car batteries?
You can't escape winter, even in your car. The average annual cost to own a vehicle is $10,742. Most of that cost comes from maintenance, which can skyrocket in the winter months.
Many people know that cold weather damages their cars. But few people know about how cold weather and car batteries relate to each other. Do you check your car battery in the winter?
How exactly does the winter weather affect car batteries? What are some tools you can use to keep your batteries warm? What is good car advice you can follow to keep your car from damage during the winter?
Answer these questions and you can keep the cold temperatures from freezing up your battery. Here is your quick guide.
How the Winter Season Affects Batteries
Car batteries contain water and sulfuric acid inside of them. The liquid helps the chemical reactions necessary for electrical charge, allowing a car to start.
When temperatures drop below the freezing point, the liquid can start to freeze. If it gets very cold, it can form ice that causes the battery to break. When your batteries freeze, your car will not be able to start.
It is okay to drive your car when the temperature is around the freezing point. The heat from your vehicle may be enough to prevent your battery from freezing. Most batteries freeze in cars that are not used on a regular basis or after very cold days.
When below freezing even the heat from the engine may not be enough to keep the battery from freezing. Many cars now locate the battery under the truck or back seat. Do you know where your battery is located?
The Essentials of Heaters for Cars
Many people are aware of heated components inside their cars. They may buy a car with heated seats, or they place a space heater inside their vehicle. This allows the occupants to stay warm while it is cold outside.
You can buy a battery heater as well. The heater can go directly on or near batteries without affecting your car's operation. You can choose from several different types of heaters.
As the name suggests, flexible heaters are heaters that can conform to the surface of a device. Most batteries are rectangular so you can lie the heaters directly under the battery. The silicone cover of the etched resistance elements protects the heater from damage, exposure to the elements, but conducts heat to the battery very efficiently.
PTC HeatersA positive temperature coefficient (PTC) occurs when a material increases its resistance to electricity as its temperature rises. The resistance in the heater is low when turned on and heats rapidly to a set point where the resistance increases and prevents further heating. This built in safety factor is ideal for automobiles since there is no combustion or exposed resistant wires.
Small 12V DC PTC surface heater is a flat device you can attach onto a battery.
How to Install a Battery Heater
Most battery heaters are easy to install. Some of them contain power cords with plugs.
You place the heater next to the battery after you have turned your car off. You then plug the heater into an electrical wall socket. Many heaters work on 12 VDC and can be connected to the car’s electrical system. These are primarily for operation while the engine is running to prevent draining the battery.
Most heaters have adhesive tapes on them. This allows you to wrap a heater around a battery so it doesn't slide off. The flexible silicone heaters placed underneath the batter need no additional attachment.
Your car hood will have to remain open so your heater remains plugged in. But don't leave your car hood wide open..
You need to unplug your heater before you use your car again. Remove your heater from your battery and then remove it from the wall. Store it in a location where it will not become damaged.
Need to know more?
See our PTC and etched foil silicone heaters for all types of vehicles including farm equipment, transportation, trains, and planes? Visit our website: www.dbkusa.com or call our thermal management experts at DBK USA. They have custom solutions for every type of commercial heating requirements.