Why Do I Have A Frozen Car Battery?
The first step to understanding why you have a frozen battery is to understand how it works.
Lead plates are coated with sulfuric acid and distilled water, and the battery contains lead plates.
The fluids in the battery form an electrolyte that reacts chemically with the lead plates to create electricity. When a battery is fully charged, this electrolyte has a low freezing point, so it is unlikely to freeze.
The freezing temperature of the electrolyte will also rise if you have a discharged battery. Furthermore, a weak battery could start freezing even when it’s not exposed to extremely cold temperatures.
How do you deal with a frozen battery now that you know what causes it to freeze?
Why Is My Car Battery Frozen?
Here’s how you can fix a frozen lead acid battery:
Step #1: Inspect The Battery
The first thing you need to do is check to see if your lead acid battery really is frozen.
Check the battery after turning off the ignition switch.
Battery fluid that is leaking or has signs of damage should not be tested. Get a mechanic to help you instead.
The only way to determine if your sealed lead acid battery is frozen is to get hold of a mechanic. The reason is that your battery can’t be opened to see how its fluid is.
For flooded lead acid batteries that appear to be in good shape, here’s how to check them further:
- Disconnect the battery safely. Remove the cable from the negative battery terminal first, then the positive battery cable.
- Check the battery fluid and the condition of each battery cell by removing the battery caps.
- It’s possible you just have a discharged battery if the battery fluid is not frozen or if there is no damage to the battery cells. In this case, you could use a jumper cable to jump start the battery.
- Proceed with the next steps if the battery fluid is frozen.
Step #2: Thaw Out The Battery
The engine and battery will warm up if you plug in the battery heater for two to three hours. The frozen battery can be safely removed and thawed out in a warm place if you don’t own a block heater.
Step #3: Test The Battery
Check the battery again to ensure that it is not damaged or leaking its sulfuric acid and distilled water mixture. Here’s how to test it if it’s in good condition:
- Replace the battery in a safe manner. Connect the positive battery cable to the positive terminal, and then connect the negative battery cable to the negative terminal.
- Start your vehicle and see if the battery works. Test the car again after fully charging the battery if it doesn’t start. When a fully charged battery still won’t work, contact a professional who can inspect it and resolve the problem.
Let’s see what you can do to prevent your car’s battery from freezing.
Why Does My Car Battery Freeze?
To prevent your car battery from freezing, follow these steps:
A. Park Your Car In A Warm Area
Freezing temperatures could cause your battery to die or weaken.
Below are some safe parking spaces where you can park your car to prevent this:
- In the garage
- Under a parking tent
- In spaces that receive direct sunlight
B. Drive Your Vehicle Regularly
Warming up your engine and battery is accomplished by driving frequently. Driving regularly keeps the battery acid moving and prevents it from freezing.
C. Switch Off All Electrical Devices Before Turning Off The Engine
Just before turning off your engine, turn off all electrical devices, such as the lights, windshield wipers, and the radio.
D. Charge Your Battery Regularly And Have It Checked
Regularly check and charge your battery to prevent it from freezing.
AGM batteries are less prone to freezing temperature conditions, but they can also freeze in harsh weather conditions.
Therefore, whether you have a lead acid battery or an AGM battery, always have them checked and charged. Consider replacing your battery every 3-5 years in addition to always having a fully charged battery.
E. Use A Trickle Charger And A Thermal Battery Blanket
To avoid a cold battery, use a trickle charger every now and then. Adding a battery blanket can relieve coldness from a fully charged battery, giving it further protection.
F. Use Antifreeze On Your Engine
Another way to prevent your car battery from freezing is to maintain the engine’s temperature. During periods of extreme cold temperatures, antifreeze can be used in order to regulate the engine’s temperature.
Earlier, you learned about cold batteries’ causes and solutions.
Now let’s look at some related FAQs.
FAQs on Frozen Car Batteries
The following are some FAQs about frozen car batteries:
1. Can I Jump Start A Frozen Car Battery?
This isn’t recommended.
Jump-starting your frozen lead-acid battery can be a dangerous endeavor.
The charge could expand the gas inside the battery and cause an explosion. Using this method will spread battery acid, which could cause harm to you or damage the components of your vehicle.
2. Will My Car Battery Survive After It Has Frozen?
Temperature conditions below freezing can affect the chemical reaction inside your car’s lead-acid battery, reducing its ability to hold a charge. In any case, if your frozen discharged battery did not sustain any damage, it could last for quite some time if you thaw it out and charge it correctly.
3. Why Won’t My Car Start When It’s Cold Outside?
In addition to a frozen or weak battery, here are other reasons your car won’t start in cold weather:
A. Faulty Alternator
Having a faulty alternator and faulty car charging system can result from cold temperature conditions cracking the alternator belt.
B. Faulty Starter Motor And Thick Engine Oil
The engine oil becomes thick in cold weather, which makes it difficult for the starter motor to start the engine.
C. Contaminated Fuel Line
The fuel system of your car might often be contaminated with water, which could lead to combustion problems. During cold weather conditions, the water in the fuel line could freeze, disrupting the fuel flow – making it difficult for the engine to start.
4. What Are The Warning Signs Of A Dead Battery?
Check for these signs of a problem with your battery if you suspect it:
i) The Charging System And Check Engine Lights Are On
Check engine and charging lights indicate a malfunctioning alternator, faulty cable connections, or damaged cells in the battery.
ii) The Engine Cranks Slowly Or Won’t Run
Turn the ignition switch on and if your engine doesn’t crank, you might have a dead battery. However, if you have a fully charged battery but your engine will not start, then you may have a faulty starter motor.
iii) Your Vehicle Has Electrical Issues
Among the electrical components of your car, the battery powers the headlights and wipers. It is possible for your lights to become dim and other electrical problems to occur if your battery is having problems.
iv) The Battery Is Swollen Or The Battery Terminal Has Corroded
Corroded battery terminals or a swollen battery are two common signs that your battery is past its prime and needs replacing.
Take a look at our guide on the 10 Signs Of A Dead Car Battery for a comprehensive overview of the signs of a dead battery.
5. Why Are Damaged Electric Vehicle Batteries Frozen When Transported?
Electric vehicle batteries with a damaged lithium-ion battery may leak chemicals or explode if they catch fire.
In order to prevent this, they undergo cryogenic freezing, which involves freezing with extremely cold substances like liquid nitrogen. Frozen items can be transported safely, removing the need for costly explosion-proof boxes.
Putting your car back on the road is as simple as thawing your frozen car battery.
However, if the frozen battery looks too dangerous to handle, you should start thinking about getting a replacement.