How does cold weather affect alkaline batteries?
In general, alkaline batteries perform very poorly in cold weather. As alkaline batteries are engineered with a water-based electrolyte, cold near-freezing point temperatures can lead to reduced ion mobility which slows down the chemical reactions that provide electrical battery power.
One of the common laws of chemistry is that reactions generally speed up when they get warm and slow down when they get cold. Such is the life of a battery. The problem is not with storing batteries in the cold, but rather trying to use them when they are cold.
- ALL batteries will perform poorly in cold weather, regardless of whether they are lithium or lead-acid. In fact, a lithium battery will still outperform a comparably-sized lead-acid when the temperature drops. As a result, the battery will warm up internally and gain enough “juice” to start the car.
- But if a car battery is discharged because of damage to cells, poor connections or a charging system that isn't doing its job, the battery could start freezing at the same temperature as water at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. "A 100 percent fully charged battery will not freeze until approximately minus 76 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Defective alternator diode. A car alternator recharges the battery and powers certain electrical systems. If your alternator has a bad diode, your battery can drain. The bad diode can cause the circuit to charge even when the engine is shut off, and you end up in the morning with a car that won't start.
Batteries are a function of chemical reactions. In cold weather the chemicals can not react as fast as in warm. In fact keeping a battery cold will extend the life of the battery, by slowing the chemical discharge. A cold battery may still be good but will not have the same the power as a warm one.
- However, if those batteries are not fully-charged, they can freeze at warmer temperatures. If your car has sat in very cold temperatures for an extended period of time and won't even turn on dashboard lights, your battery may be frozen. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO JUMP-START OR CHARGE A BATTERY THAT MAY BE FROZEN!
- As @Paul has stated the freezing point varies with the state of charge and battery type. A frozen battery can explode with considerable force spraying acid and shrapnel quite a distance. If you suspect the battery is frozen remove it and allow it to thaw.
- While electrolyte freezing is possible in alkaline batteries (since alkaline electrolytes utilize a water-based solvent), the electrolyte itself is a saturated gel, thus the freezing point is depressed significantly below that of pure water and the potential for freezing at household-freezer temperatures is low.
Be aware that freezing temperatures can do a number on your car battery. During cold temperatures starting an engine can take up to twice as much current as needed under normal conditions. It is advisable to have your battery tested, as well as your starting and charging systems prior to the deep cold of winter.
- A cold start is an attempt to start a vehicle's engine when it is cold, relative to its normal operating temperature, often due to normal cold weather.
- Fuel injector symptoms for bad, faulty, dirty, clogged, or leaking injectors are : Increased fuel consumption. Rough engine performance. Surging and bucking under various throttle loads.
- Clean the fuel system from the gas tank by adding a premium formula fuel system cleaner. Fuel injector cleaning or carburetor cleaning, intake valves, and combustion chambers with fuel system cleaner. Use fuel system cleaner to purge water from the fuel system. Lubricate valves, cylinders, injectors, and rings.
Updated: 3rd October 2019