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September 29, 2022 at 10:03 PM

Keeping your vehicle battery warm in winter is often an issue, especially with smaller 12-volt batteries. There are many ways to do this, but not all are effective or safe. We look at the best options for keeping your batteries warm in the cold months below!


Key Takeaways

The battery of your van is under much stress in winter. Cold weather brings two problems to your vehicle: reduced power and engine problems.

Take care of your van's battery in time for winter by making sure you know the lifespan of your batteries, selecting quality batteries, using an underground or parking garage instead of leaving your van in the open, using a battery blanket and avoiding short drives. Other tips for keeping your battery in good condition include:

  • removing corrosion from the terminals,
  • regularly checking the battery,
  • limiting your use of electronics and charging the battery

Can Cold Weather Affect My Battery?

As the temperature drops, more and more drivers find themselves unable to start their vehicles. This is because your car battery undergoes a great deal of stress in winter due to the cold temperatures, making this an excellent time to replace your van battery.

During winter, things slow down, including the chemical reactions inside your van battery. Approximately 35% of the strength of a van's battery is lost at 0°C. The battery will lose up to 60% of its strength at temperatures around 17°C, which means it will take nearly twice as much power to start your vehicle.

As you drive, your battery recharges naturally, but starting it is the first challenge. So what causes battery power to be drained by the cold? Battery power is usually transferred via an electrochemical reaction, with your terminal ends receiving power signals. Cold weather slows down this chemical reaction, reducing the battery's capacity.

Aside from slowed-down chemical reactions, your van also faces engine problems. The reason for this is that oil becomes thicker in colder weather. As a result of low temperatures, many components are also under stress, including radiators, belts and hoses. All these factors slow your engine, making it more challenging to start your van.

How to Keep Battery Warm in Winter?

Here are nine tips for avoiding van battery problems during cold weather and maintaining your battery throughout the winter.

1. Make sure you know the lifespan of your batteries

Knowing your battery's lifespan will help prevent it from dying since you'll know the optimal time to replace it. The average lifespan of a van battery is between five and ten years. If your van's battery is nearing its end of life, replacing it before winter comes is a good idea.

2. Use an underground garage or parking garage

Ideally, that's the best option if your vehicle can be parked underground or in a garage. Go with the garage if you have to choose between parking in your garage or driveway. Garages or covered areas help prevent snow from falling and freezing on your vehicle and provide a warmer environment. Avoid parking on bare ground to protect your van from moisture and contaminants.

3.  Use a battery blanket

Battery blankets, made of thermally insulated fabric or material that resists corrosion, are available commercially. You can even use a regular blanket if you need one on short notice. The blanket should be placed over your battery immediately after shutting down your engine so that your engine's heat is retained. It is also vital that you remove the blanket before starting your van.

4. Take regular drives

Your van’s battery can drain when it sits for an extended period of time, particularly in cold weather. By driving it for just a few minutes and then shutting it off and leaving it out in the cold, the battery won't be able to recharge. Driving warms your battery, preventing the cold and recharging your battery simultaneously. Ensure that you drive a decent distance since it may take 30 minutes for the battery to recharge, depending on the vehicle's age and the battery's condition.

5. Remove corrosion from the terminals

Turn off your van, lift the hood and inspect the battery. Are the terminals covered with white powder? Those are the signs of corrosion, which increases electrical resistance and stresses your battery. Basic household products can be used for cleaning and protecting against corrosion. But in case you don't want to do it yourself, you can take your van to your local repair garage to have it cleaned.

6.  Select quality batteries

Your best bet for ensuring your van battery isn't damaged by cold weather is to ensure it is of high quality. If you opt for a cheaper battery, it may drain more quickly. You might save some money initially, but the more frequent battery replacements will likely cost you more in the long run. So if your current battery fails to withstand winter conditions, switch to a long-lasting one. This investment will surely benefit your vehicle and future self.

7.  Regularly check the battery

Your battery, like your winter tyres and brake system, is an essential part of your vehicle and deserves to be treated. Similar to getting your antifreeze coolant levels checked regularly, make sure your battery is checked by a professional regularly, preferably before and during the winter. When you get your battery checked, you'll be able to know more about its condition and whether you need to replace it.

8.  Limit using electronics

Electronics, such as your van's radio, heater and alarm, rely on your battery for power. Turning them all on at once can drain your battery, so you might want to wait until your engine runs before turning them on. You can take things up a notch and limit your use of electronics to avoid straining the battery. For instance, you can try going without the radio or phone charger for a day.

9.  Charge the battery

Depleted batteries have a greater chance of freezing up than fully charged batteries. So when you notice that your van struggles to start after you turn on the ignition, try using a van charger to help the battery withstand harsh winter temperatures.

Due for a Van Replacement This Winter?

Contact Big Van World for all your van needs and secure a replacement in time for winter. Please take a look at our used van selection today.


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