Imagine Rick Grimes woke up in a cold morning, going out for some emergency supplies, started his car. But the car failed on him because of a dead battery. Can you think about how terrible it would be?
Imaginary situations apart, you’ll say that it’s hilarious as I’m not Rick Grimes and it’ll never happen in real life. Now, imagine that your dad suffers a severe heart attack and you need to take him to the hospital without waiting for the ambulance to arrive. What will you do when your car battery betrays on you?
Yes, now you’re thinking seriously because it might happen to any of us. Buying the best car battery for cold weather and that you need to know to make your battery more long-lasting, you’ll be able to beat cold weather car battery problems. However, you need to know everything about it and we’ll guide you clarifying every point. So, let’s begin.
What is Cold Weather Car Battery?
A cold-weather car battery is slightly better than other batteries with cold climate compatibility, more durability, better CCA rating, and more reserve capacity. Let’s talk about those in detail.
Firstly, the cold climate compatibility means if the battery can perform even in the freezing cold environment. Not all batteries have the same capability. So, we’ve reviewed the best car batteries for cold weather that are cold climate compatible.
The durability of a car battery is also related to the previous point. A car battery for the cold climate is made in such a way that it is more durable than an ordinary one. Besides, the rating of the best car battery for cold cranking amps should be higher which makes it a better performer in cold weather. The rating means how much amps your desired battery can produce at 0° Fahrenheit. So, you should buy the highest cold-cranking amps battery.
Finally, the reserve capacity of a car battery indicates that it can support you even if the car’s alternator, stator, or rotor is dysfunctional. It also indicates the capability of starting the engine even if you’ve mistakenly kept the headlight on for quite some time. A quick test could be a cold-weather car battery drain time. Full charge your cold-weather auto battery to its full and discharge down to 10.5 volts. Taking more than 1.5 hours means the battery is cold-weather compatible.
Why your battery does not work in cold weather?
The first thing we want to say is that your battery never dies in cold weather. Are you shocked? Please don’t because there’s logic to our claim. In winter, your car battery acts in such a way that it seems dead to you.
The fact is that your car’s battery generates electricity by making chemical reactions inside. In an ideal weather condition, it works perfectly. But in cold weather, the reaction gets slower and the battery produces less electricity than normal.
On the other hand, your car requires more power to wake up at this temperature. As a result, your car won’t start and you think your battery isn’t working.
So, you need a car battery for cold weather to stay unstoppable.
Types of Car Battery for Winter
There are many types of car batteries. For example, Starting, Lighting, and Ignition Batteries; Deep Cycle Batteries; Valve-Regulated Lead-Acid Batteries; Lithium-Ion (Li-ion) Batteries; Wet Cell (or Flooded) Batteries. But not all of these are suitable for colder months. For winter season the best suitable battery for your car is Lead-acid battery and AGM battery.
Lead Acid Battery: Led acid batteries are the classic ones. It is the oldest technology used in car batteries. Those are often called wet cell batteries because they use liquid electrolytes. This kind of battery leaks and spills time to time and you need to fill as a part of the maintenance. It is cheaper than AGM and durable than many other types of batteries.
AGM: AGM indicates Absorbed Glass Mat. These are unlike lead-acid batteries as they do not leak or spill. For this, it does not need any kind of active liquid. These are the maintenance-free batteries, which control the leakage automatically.
The Key Features of Battery for Cold Weather
From the above, we have known that car batteries are not immortal. Like all the other electronic equipment, car batteries can also go down. Other than the maintenance you have to be extra conscious if you live somewhere where winter comes with extraordinary cold.
For example, the temperature has some bad effects on many electronics including your car batteries. At freezing temperature car battery can lose full third of its efficiency. If the temperature goes farther down, your car battery can lose 40% – 50% of its capacity. So, there are several things you have to consider to find the best car battery for cold weather. Let’s discuss some important features below.
Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) and Cranking Amps (CA)
Cold-cranking amps, often known as CCA is one of the most important features for car batteries in cold weather. It generally means how much power your battery has or how much power it can deliver to the car for it to start in a period of 30 seconds.
Where cracking amps or CA is the value of how many amperes in a new lead-acid battery at 32°F (or 0°C) can distribute for about 30 seconds along with maintaining 1.2v per cell (7.2 volts for a 12v battery). To make it simple, we can say, CA stands for how much power you have to start your car in average weather.
So, why the CCA and CA matter?
Well, if you live somewhere where the temperature drops below freezing level you will need a much higher CCA to run your car smoothly. When the weather is extremely cold the CCA or CA drops inconsiderable amount. In that kind of weather, you will want your battery to supply enough power to start the car. As we can say, the higher the CCA rating of your battery is, the greater the starting power of your car battery. And that’s what you need most in a clod climate.
However, the only difference between CCA and CA is CCA is measured at -18°C and Ca is measured at 0°C (or 32°F you can say).
A Note: If we think from the perspective of the onside battery, the thinner and more amount of plates a car battery has, the larger the CCA and CA will be due to the greater surface area.
A reserve battery means continuous power. Suppose your car battery has 90 minutes of reserve battery. So, you can have 90 minutes of continuous power even when the battery is turned off.
Besides, reserve capacity comes in handy when the charging system malfunctions. When the event happens usually a car battery cannot supply electricity to your car to function upon. This is the time when reserve capacity works and keeps your car going. It determines the amount of time your car can function while charging system malfunctions. If you want your battery to survive in really cold weather you will need a battery that has high reserve capacity. If a car battery produces 20 amps in 80 degrees for a long time it is considered as high reserve capacity.
We already know that cold winter is annihilating to car batteries. So not only you will need a high-performance battery but also a heavy-duty one. You have to make sure the battery is durable and do not need maintenance very often. So that you will not have to replace it time to time.
Besides, car batteries from renowned brands got better sealed the outside materials are durable and long lasting that extreme weather cannot affect the inside parts of your car battery. However, make sure you choose a car battery which is not more than 6 months old from the date of its manufacture time. Otherwise, it will not last long in the winter.
Vibration and Temperature Resistant
Vibration resistance of your car battery is mater when you are driving on off-road or on rugged terrain or snowy roads in extremely cold weather. If your car battery has good vibration resistance, it will never lose its efficiency. It also prevents battery failure.
Besides temperature resistance is needed as it will also protect your battery at any temperature and survive high heat or the extreme cold.
Optimal Starting Power Starting Burst Time
All electrical system of your car is connected to its battery. The car engine starts with internal combustion. But the combustion needs a huge burst of power, so the starting battery of your car can be capable of discharging a high amount of current in a short period of time.
So, how less time the battery takes to discharge that huge power, the more the battery is suitable for cold weather. Generally, a good car battery for cold weather should have 5 seconds of starting burst. However, with the optimal starting power feature, the car battery stays strong in harsh/cold weather.
C20 capacity or alternatively known as Amp Hour specifies how much energy is kept in a battery. This metric indicates the energy a battery can continuously provide for 20 hours at 80°F and the voltage will not fall below 10.5v.
However, this term actually indicates the rate of battery discharge. C20 will not discharge in 20 hours. This increases battery life as well.
While buying a car battery, costing is a very important thing to consider. You may have noticed that batteries that are made to last in the extreme cold are on the expensive side. But our suggestion is to invest in your car battery. So, you do not have to replace it very often in the winter. If you go for the lower piece range chances are you have to replace or at least repair it many times.
There are many types of car batteries you will find in the market. Some of them will need maintenance more than the other one. For example, if you go for a wet cell battery you will have to fill water in it every now and then. You have to keep checking it otherwise it will damage the battery. We recommend you to buy an AGM car battery for cold climate.
As we are looking for a battery for cold months you can buy the maintenance-free battery. There are sealed batteries that do not need maintenance at all. If you are the kind of person who does not want to bother after the battery is installed, you should buy the maintenance-free battery. But note to be taken, wet cell battery lasts longer than the sealed one and never forget to check amp hours. In extremely cold weather must check it because you will need high amp-hour to last in that weather.
You should check whether the car battery you are buying has high-density negative paste or not. Because this improves the performance and increases the battery’s life.
Finally, The Must-Have Features:
|C20 Capacity||60-80 Ah|
|Longer Cycle Life||Yes|
|High-Density Negative Paste||Yes|
|Leak & Spill Proof||Yes|
|Pure Lead Plates||Yes|
|Optimal Starting Power||Yes|
The Review – Best Car Battery for Cold Weather
After investing lots of days on testing different popular car batteries, we have deeply analyzed how the batteries perform in old weather. Depending on our result and real-life experience, here is the list of top 5 best car batteries for cold weather you can buy:
|Top Pick||Runner’s Up||Best Budget||Other Considerations|
|Properties||Odyssey 65-PC1750T||NORTHSTAR Pure Lead 94R||ACDelco 48AGM Professional||Optima Batteries 8002-002 34 RedTop||DieHard 38232 Advanced Gold|
|CCA||950 Amp||840 Amp||760 Amp||800 Amp||755 Amp|
|C20 Capacity||74 Ah||76 Ah||70 Ah||50 Ah||55 Ah|
|Reserve Capacity||145 min||158 min||120 min||100 min||120 min|
|Longer Cycle Life||Very Good||Very Good||Very Good||N/A||Very Good|
|High-Density Negative Paste||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Leak & Spill Proof||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Pure Lead Plates||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Optimal Starting Power||Yes||Yes||N/A||Yes||Yes|
|Warranty||4 years||4 years||3 years||3 years||3 years|
Odyssey 65-PC1750T – Top Pick
What We Like:
- Able to start your car in extreme conditions.
- Space-saving and lightweight.
- Going to last you a really long time.
- The self-discharge rate is really low.
- Highly vibration resistant and spill-proof.
- Fast recharge.
- Immense starting power.
This is our first pick for extreme cold weather is for a bunch of reasons. First of all, this range of group 65 engines is really powerful and suitable for extreme weather. Odyssey 65-PC1750T often used as a starter engine for larger or heavy-duty vehicles. So, you can imagine how powerful this engine is. Other than that, this one meets all of the requirements you will look for in an engine for icy weather.
If you searched for engines that are powerful and can go through extreme temperature you may know by now that odyssey will provide you all of that. Not only it will meet your needs but also it will meet those at the highest level.
Let’s start with cold cranking amps of 950, which is double to triple compared to other batteries. That means you will not face any problem even the temperature is as low as -40°C. It will provide you highest optimal starting power and burst.
As it comes to temperature, this engine temperature resistant is up to -40°C to 45°C without a metal jacket. If you use a metal jacket the rate goes higher.
Mechanical vibration and shock are one of the main reasons why many of the engines fail but not this one. It has an ingenious design that protects the engine from the vibration and increases the life span, as well as its non spillable and leak proof design gives this engine mountain flexibility.
Reserve capacity is another important thing you will need in your car batteries. Reserve capacity means how much time your car can run if charging system malfunction. It will also work when the main battery is down. So, in extreme conditions, you will need a higher reserve capacity. Odyssey offers you 145 minutes of reverse capacity which is huge compared to other engines. Besides, this battery recharges faster than any other engine in the market. It will take only 4 to 6 hours to charge it 100%.
Finally, is this the best bet?
If you are looking for some extremely powerful car battery then obviously this is the best option you have in the market. Other than those high-quality features we have discussed above, this battery has the longest life cycle. Its self-life is also incredibly good. Besides those, it comes with 4 years of warranty with full replacement. So overall this is going to last you about a very long time.
If money is not the concern for you then you should definitely go for this battery. Because you need to pay little bit extra money to bring it to your home. But all the great features it is offering the value for money is totally worth it.
Now if your pocket deprecates it, you can definitely check other batteries which cost less.
NORTHSTAR Pure Lead Automotive Group 94R – Runner’s Up
What We Like:
- Very well build and durable
- Top-notch performance with Latest technology
- Super vibration resistant
- Great life span
- Powerful starting master
- 840 CCA rating which is pretty much enough for any cold weather
Enough CCA rating, Great lifespan, fast recharge, pure lead AGM technology, very powerful starting burst and optimal power – these are the things that make us put this car battery at our top list. If you want to compare it with the first one (which we have said our “top pick”), you probably not find that many differences. Everything you need in a cold-weather car battery, all exist here in this NORTHSTAR Pure Lead Automotive Group 94R battery.
It has 840 CCA rating, which is pretty enough for any cold weather, fitting is very good, has ability t quick start every time and can provide top-notch performance for 5 to 12 years.
Moreover, this battery has an incredible 158 min of reserve capacity and 76 Ah of c20 capacity. You can find all the features of an ideal car battery for cold weather in this battery. Also, most of the features are same as the Odyssey 65-PC1750T.
But why we call this as our runner’s up?
Uh…actually we shouldn’t but for our more advanced readers we have dug into deep and now we can say – there are only two differences between these two best car batteries (the differences are very little though).
The first one is, the previous one has a little bit higher CCA rating (950 Amp). Those who are very serious and do not compromise a little bit, this metric can satisfy them.
The second difference is, Odyssey has better brand value and recognition than the NorthStar. But hey, this doesn’t mean that NorthStar is a bad brand/company. In our real-life testing and experiences, both the Odyssey and NorthStar battery do very well and for that we can say this the two best car batteries for cold weather.
ACDelco 48AGM Professional – Best Budget
What We Like:
- High-Performance car battery
- Advanced engineering
- Longer life cycle
- Professional-level performance and features at a budget price
If you are a little shortage of money or do not want to invest in heavy-duty, powerful car battery but yet do not want to compromise the quality and features, the ACDelco 48AGM Professional can be the perfect car battery for you. It is a truly professional cold climate car battery with a very reasonable budget.
The ACDelco 48AGM can serve for a longer period of time without any maintenance. That means this car battery is totally maintenance-free. It has decent CCA rating (760 Amp) and the c20 capacity also very satisfactory (70 Ah). The reserve capacity of this battery is 120 min, which we can say it enough.
However, this battery lacks optimal starting power and has not fast charge feature. Besides, the CCA rating is satisfactory but not amazing.
ACDelco is popular bran in battery industry and the 48AGM Professional can be really the great value for money. Comparing the price range of cold weather car batteries, these prices very low but provide professional-level performance and features. If the satisfactory (!) CCA rating is okay for you and you are not with the longer charging time, this is surely the best budget car battery for the winter season.
People go for many other brands and we went with the flow and tested several popular car batteries. Among those, we would like to mention these two car batteries for cold weather purposes.
Optima Batteries 8002-002 34 RedTop Starting Battery
With 800 Amp CCA rating (which is good) and most other main features you need in a car battery on a cold season, this is a very popular buying car battery. But comparing the price, it lags behind if you compare the first 3 products on our list. The reserve capacity is not satisfactory, C20 capacity is lower than the budget one and the average rating on Amazon is also average. However, if you get in love with the Optima brand and do not need larger reserve capacity, you can still buy this one.
DieHard 38232 Advanced Gold
Another favorite choice among the people is the DieHard 38232 Advanced Gold car battery. The reserve capacity is adequate, durability is good enough, has a better seal (Leak and spill-proof), and unaffected form vibration and temperature.
All those great things you can get in this DieHard 38232 Advanced Gold battery but need to sacrifice only two things – CCA rating (760; which is average) and moderate starting power. Other than that, this can be a buying option for you if you do not spend much on your car battery.
The Size Chart – Get the Right Fit
So, you’ve researched a lot and bought the best car battery for cold weather for your car. But you’ve forgotten to check the most important parameter which is the battery size. Would you still think that an unfit battery with perfect features is good for your car?
You’ve to think again because the battery will not only get damaged but also affect other auto parts because of the jerking on the road. So, check your auto manual or consult with your auto mechanic to know the battery tray dimension of your car, match the battery dimension, and buy accordingly. Here’s the most common BCI battery size chart for your convenience.
- Size 75 which has a dimension of 230mm*179mm*196mm (L x W x H)
- Size 78 which has a dimension of 260mm*179mm*196mm (L x W x H)
- Size 65 which has a dimension of 306mm*190mm*192mm (L x W x H)
- Size 35 which has a dimension of 230mm*175mm*225mm (L x W x H)
- Size 34/34R which has a dimension of 260mm*173mm*200mm (L x W x H)
- Size 51/51R which has a dimension of 238mm*129mm*223mm (L x W x H)
- Size 48 (H6) which has a dimension of 306mm*175mm*192mm (L x W x H)
- Size 49 (H8) which has a dimension of 381mm*175mm*192mm (L x W x H)
- Size 47 (H5) which has a dimension of 246mm *175mm*190mm (L x W x H)
- Size 24 which has a dimension of 260mm*173mm*225mm (L x W x H)
- Size 24F which has a dimension of 273mm*173mm*229mm (L x W x H)
How to Keep Your Battery from Dying in Colder Weather?
If you think you’re doing everything right but your battery is still failing you, you need to think again. Here, we’ll discuss some car battery cold weather tips that’ll keep your car battery from dying in cold weather. Also, we’ll share some information to make the batteries run longer.
Firstly, you must test your battery’s performance before the tough winter hits your area. The tests will be done by your mechanic. After the assessment, you’ll know if the battery can support you in cold weather or not.
Secondly, you have to choose the parking place for your car intelligently. In your home, you must have a garage and you park your car there. So, just make sure that the wind can’t reach your car. Similarly, when you go for work and park your car outside, try to avoid the windy spot. We know it’s tough to find such a spot but you should try hard to find one as it’ll save you a lot of trouble later. On the other hand, you can use a car battery cover for cold weather. Another trick is that you can park in such a way that its front side is in the opposite direction of the wind.
Thirdly, keep your battery fully charged all the time. It ensures that the battery doesn’t freeze until -76° Fahrenheit. So, you’ll get a reliable battery performance.
Finally, the car battery charger for cold weather should have the highest quality. If you save some money on the charger, you’ll have to suffer and spend more on a cold morning. These good quality chargers keep your battery charged at the right level and ensure longer battery life.
Some Effective Tips:
Now, it’s time to know some tips to ensure that you take the best cold-weather car battery care.
- You know that a decrease in temperature increases the resistance of the battery. What it means is that it becomes difficult for your battery to pass the juice to your car’s engine and other parts to power them up and run smoothly. Similarly, dirt and debris on the battery increase the resistance. So, keep it clean and you’re protecting your car battery from cold, dirt and debris.
- It’s tempting for us to turn on the heat or use some other accessories right after jumping into the car. But you shouldn’t do it until the alternator charge the battery. The battery’s capability in winter gets reduced. So, keep your demands as low as possible and start the engine.
- Continuing the last point, we want to say that you shouldn’t leave your car keeping an accessory on. It’ll continue draining the charge while you’re away. And when you come back, you might find out that the battery can’t start the engine. So, remember to turn off everything before you leave.
When Should You Replace Your Car Battery?
You can’t say that someone got a heart attack without any reason or warning. In 98% of cases, we get some symptoms over a few years; we ignore them and get a heart attack as the final result. Similarly, your car battery will give you some signs. If you ignore them, you’ll get in trouble and there’ll be no one to blame but yourself.
So, let’s see when you should replace your car battery.
- The most obvious sign is getting the smell of a rotten egg from your car even after cleaning. It means that the battery is leaking and the smell is caused by sulfur. This is the time you replace your car battery
- Another alarming case scenario is having a car battery that is a little or very swollen. If you notice something like this, don’t try to do anything by yourself. Go to a car mechanic and replace the battery carefully. A swollen car battery is a ticking bomb for other parts of your car.
- Starting the engine with a crank or not starting at all can be a sign for your battery to be replaced. This means that your battery is tiring up and can’t afford the energy that your engine needs. After a few troubling starts, take your car to a mechanic for more testing.
- Finally, it’s not a sign. It’s about a specific time slot. After 3 years of installing a new battery, you should keep your battery on the check. Depending on the weather and driving condition, the battery might last for 4 or 5 years. But you should keep it on regular assessment.
What about changing your car battery at home with your own? You may be thinking of that, right? There’s an easy guide on “How to Change A Car Battery at Home In 9 Easy Steps?”. Read this and change your car battery at your home without spending extra penny.
Spending the money on the wrong product is very frustrating – whatever product it is! If you ever face the struggle of starting or driving your car on cold weather, you may understand the importance of the right battery for that situation. I hope you have read the full article well and make all of your confusion out. So, now its time to buy your desired battery. You can click any of the links above (which one you like) and directly buy from the Amazon. Happy driving in the winter.