Winter can be a wonderland; playing in the snow, making snowmen, and having snow fights. It can be such a dream. The extreme cold outside, on the other hand, is another story. Short days, miserable weather and if you don’t have the best car battery for cold weather then you can find yourself stranded in the absolute worst time. To prevent this, you should buy a car battery that can operate despite the tough climate. Thankfully, this article has vetted the market for the popular car options for low temperatures. We also explain the useful metrics to decide on the right option for your car and give some advice on how to keep it alive at low temperature. Read on to find out more.
What is CCA?
CCA stands for Cold Cranking Amps. It is a standard across the motor industry to establish a battery’s ability to start an engine in the freezing cold. It is the current that a 12-volt battery can deliver for 30 seconds at -18°C (0°F) as it maintains a terminal voltage of at least 1.20 volts per cell. CCAs show how well a battery will perform in the icy winter. As a battery ages, its starting power depreciates and so choosing a battery with higher starting power should assure you of its long use. Be wary though, too many CCAs in warm climates is not a good idea and will adversely affect the battery’s performance.
Car Battery for Cold Weather Reviews
Odyssey 65-PC1750T: Best Car Battery for Cold Weather
If there was ever an overachieving battery, it would be this battery. The 65-PC1750T has an incredible 950 cold cranking amps and you’ll be hard pressed to find a better rating on the market. On top of this, it is a military grade deep cycle battery that can resist a lot of mechanical wear, intense vibrations, and extreme temperatures outside. Its leak-proof design coupled with its low maintenance, give you multiple options to mount the battery except one. You cannot invert it.
According to Odyssey, this battery lasts 70% longer than other deep cycle batteries. You can have a stable voltage across it for a long time and yet it will have a longer cycle life than its competitors. Odyssey’s battery is also the most efficient recharge lead batteries with a charge time of 4-6 hours. But all these superlatives, come with a hefty price tag to match. Excellence doesn’t come cheap. Put in another way, this is the best cold weather car battery if you have the money for it.
- High-performance cranking
- Long battery life
- Mountable in most positions
- Quick recharging
- 2-4 year warranty
- Very expensive
- Cannot be inverted when you mount it
- Not for those who need low CCA rating
ACDelco 94RAGM: Good Rating but a Short Lifespan
This option from ACDelco is an excellent car battery for winter with a remarkable 850 cranking amps, 80 amp-hours, and 140 minutes of reserve capacity. It is an excellent product for consistent starting power for a range of applications including automotive, recreational, and heavy-duty. Rest assured that the battery has been extensively tested to meet ACDelco’s high standards. This model utilizes high-quality technologies and materials to ensure its performance, battery cycle, and durability. It has an Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) to ensure there are no leaks. It is engineered with a silver calcium alloy to enhance its battery cycle performance. Plus, the calcium lead plates minimize resistance and improve conductivity. This battery can also resist extreme shock.
At 51lbs, this 850 CCA is by no means a light battery. Its weight can make mounting cumbersome. A bigger concern is that the battery also doesn’t have a long life. There have been several reports that this battery’s lifespan doesn’t exceed two years of use. This is quite discerning but an important thing to consider before buying one.
- High cranking rating
- Very expensive
- Short lifespan
- Heavy battery
- Can only be used on vehicles that need AGM batteries
Optima Batteries 8025-160: Reliable With Minimal Maintenance
Optima’s RedTop is a cold weather battery that uses ultra-high AGM technology that delivers powerful and reliable start-up. It offers 720 CCAs and a reserve capacity of 90 minutes which enough to even be used on heavy-duty vehicles. The spill-proof AGM design makes it mountable in multiple positions especially since the battery can also withstand intense vibrations and has a high tolerance for severe temperatures outside.
In general, the battery outperforms other batteries in demanding cranking and starting applications so can potentially be the best car battery for winter. This RedTop offers very fast recharging and the strongest 5-second starting burst in the industry. In general, the Optima 8025-160 outperforms other batteries in demanding cranking and starting. But this model has its drawbacks. If your vehicle has a lot of electronic loads and accessories then this is not the perfect option, look at Optima’s YellowTop series for that purpose. If you need a battery for non-cycling applications then look at the brand’s BlueTop series because the 8025-160 just won’t cut it.
- High-performance battery
- Works in extreme climates
- Long-life battery
- Only works in certain applications
- Has a carry handle that can get in the way after mounting
Optima Batteries 8040-218 D35 YellowTop: Small but Powerful
The YellowTop series by Optima battery as designed for electrical loads that are larger than usual and machines without alternators, you could even use it as a truck battery for cold weather. This is one of the best car batteries for cold weather conditions since it uses a unique SpiralCell technology to give 620 cold cranking amps. This battery can do multiple cycles of charging/recharging which is why it can handle several electrical loads like winches, hydraulics, and a high-end sound system.
Plates are made by the process of spiral winding pure lead. The SpiralCell is also the reason it can withstand extreme vibrations and offer a 98-minute reserve capacity. You can rest assured with this technology that there will be no forms of harm to yourself, people in the vehicle or the environment. This battery is durable, reliable, and it is supposed to last thrice as long as normal batteries. All this make the YellowTop ideal for off-road and racing vehicles. It is smaller than most batteries which can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, this Optima AGM battery is a good option when you have limited space, but on the other hand, further adjustment is required if you are changing your original battery.
- Good CCA rating and fast recharging
- Spill-proof and mountable in various positions
- Can be used by heavy equipment such as forklift and tractors
- Can be used by vehicles with high-demand electronics
- May need a custom spacer to fit in certain car models
- Has a low reserve capacity
ACDelco ACDB24R: Good Cranking Amps at an Affordable Price
This is a sophisticated battery at a moderate price. The cold weather car battery incorporates two different technologies to be a great choice. First, it uses Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) technology to guarantee no harmful spills with this battery. The ACDB24R also uses valve regulated-gas recombinant technology which gives it up to 3 times the cycle life of typical batteries. When you compare these batteries with others that use flooded calcium technology, these ACDelco batteries are engineered with full frame power path grids that give them higher cranking power and decrease its self-discharge rate for off-season storage.
Tested for rigidity to assure its usage in extreme conditions and backed by some of the industry’s best battery warranties, the ADCB24R is an incredible deal. This battery series has a wide range of models to fit different vehicles. It can be daunting to pick the best battery for cold weather but do your research to get the right battery for you.
- Good CCA rating
- Longer cycle life
- 18-month warranty
- May not match certain car models, especially heavy-duty vehicles
How to keep your car battery charged in the cold weather?
You would want to prevent sudden battery discharge in the freezing cold by all means and here are some useful tips to keep even the best cold weather battery fully charged throughout the winter.
- Check your battery beforehand
- Get a battery charger
- Be conscious of accessories
- Keep it clean
- Take care of your engine and opt for appropriate oil
It’s a good idea to schedule an auto care check-up prior to the blistering cold to know the status of your vehicle. When you know what your battery’s charge is then you can act more efficiently and choose the right interventions to prolong its charge.
A quality battery charger, sometimes called battery tenders, is a more affordable option than purchasing a new winter car battery every year. You should buy a battery charger with a float, storage, or maintenance charge mode otherwise it will be a waste of money.
Even if you bought the best car battery for cold weather, if you leave all your accessories on before turning off the vehicle, your battery won’t last that long. Make sure your AC, lights, and radio are off before you park. And when you start the car up again, wait a little bit to let your alternator charge the battery before turning all these loads on.
When the temperatures drop, the electrical resistance increases and the engine oil gets thicker. This already makes the battery work harder without dirt and debris on the battery terminals, that further increase the resistance. Any white powder around the battery terminals is corrosion that can be easily addressed with a damp cloth, a toothbrush, baking soda, and H20. Afterward, apply dielectric grease to prevent more corrosion from happening.
While low winter temperatures may affect motor oil to a large extent by making it thicker, it is crucial for caring drivers to avoid this negative phenomenon by adding winter oil. Very thick oil is the culprit for engine working slower and the battery spending more charge on every application. There are different types of winter oil that can withstand different milestones of temperatures below zero, so it is up to you to decide what one to choose based on how low the temperature can get in your country.
How many cold cranking amps a battery have?
So now that you’ve decided on a battery you may be wondering to yourself, how many cold cranking amps should a battery have? Well, there are various factors that need to be taken into consideration to determine the right CCA to start an engine. Engine size, car make, auxiliary loads, just to name a few. The car manufacturer has taken all the necessary considerations so it is best to purchase a battery with at least the same CCA rating as the vehicle’s original battery. A lower CCA rating could result in unnecessary problems.
Where and how to store battery in winter?
Experienced drivers know that extreme winter temperatures can affect even the best batteries for cold weather by reducing their capacity. Therefore, it could be very beneficial to share some impactful tips explaining how to properly maintain a car battery in winter whether it is at a full charge or not.
Here are seven effective tips that every driver should follow:
- Correct storage location. The battery may remain in the car even for long periods if the garage has adequate storage facilities. The correct temperature is important in choosing where to store it. Vehicle batteries prefer to be stored in cool and dry conditions. The optimal storage temperature for a car battery is 59° F. Storage in the basement is basically possible, but the area should be dry. It would be better to store in a house where even in winter the atmosphere is dry and the temperature stays the same.
- Make regular tests. Although this piece of advice may seem a bit trivial, you still need to be well prepared for the winter period and check the entire vehicle. However, testing the battery is the most meaningful way to make sure that everything is alright with its essential elements and total capacity. The easiest method to check the car is to utilize a computerized battery tester.
- Try to keep your high CCA battery warm when you’re not using your car. You can either leave your car in the garage or at least use a weather-proof car cover in order to prevent the vehicle from freezing. If you cannot afford these two methods, then try to park your vehicle in a safe place that is protected from strong wind.
- Do not be lazy and dedicate some time to clean up the battery’s terminals now and then to get rid of dirt and corrosion. You can just take a worn-out toothbrush and baking soda mixture to do this in an easy and quick way.
- Charge your battery. Don’t leave the car battery fully discharged. It’s easy to forget about it in winter. So remind yourself to check the battery state on a regular basis and recharge it.
- Try starting your battery with small pauses from time to time. If you cannot start your car during a cold winter morning, but you know that it must have some charge to share, then you should wait for a while and try again. In case the battery does not seem working again at all, check the battery connections for corrosion or dirt. This should be helpful too, as it’s your only chance to start the car normally without charging the best car battery for cold winters again.
- Stay patient after starting the engine. It is vital to let the alternator charge the car battery properly before you can turn on the radio, lights, etc. This will help you prevent the situation when the battery gets dead very quickly at the most inconvenient moment.
My name is Brandon, and I’ve been interested in cars since I was a kid. I got a bachelor’s degree in Automotive Technology and worked in a private car workshop. I have two cars that have been completely upgraded with my own hands. So I successfully put all my knowledge into practice.
Last update on 2020-07-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API