Frigid temperatures can zap car batteries - KPTV - FOX 12

Frigid temperatures can zap car batteries

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Frigid temperatures can be really hard on your car, especially your car’s battery.

Portland area Les Schwab locations had a steady flow of cars needing battery checkups and replacements on Tuesday due to the cold weather.

“Your battery doesn’t produce as much cranking amps or electricity as quickly when it’s cold out,” Les Schwab Manager Cliff Pruner said.

Simply put, even your battery that worked well in the summer can still choke in the winter, especially if it’s on its last legs.

"Twice as many people come in the wintertime for battery problems than in the summer,” Pruner said.

Pruner said the typical life of a battery is three to five years. Some can last as long as seven years.

“If you’re not sure the last time you bought a battery, definitely stop by to have it looked at,” Pruner said.

Short trips are really hard on batteries and can shorten their lives, Pruner says. Your car’s alternator needs some time to charge your battery back up.

“If you do start your car, you want it to run for 20 to 30 minutes just to recoup that charge on the battery that it drew down,” Pruner said.

One of the best things you can do for your battery during the winter is to keep it out of the elements.

“If you park in a garage, it’s not as harsh of an environment as it is to park outside,” Pruner said.

Also, don’t leave it parked for an extended period of time without running it during the cold season.

Finally, it’s always a good idea to keep jumper cables in your car just in case. You can also buy a jump starter battery pack. That way, you don’t need another car to get a jump start.

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