AAA Texas: Cold Temperatures Can Wreak Havoc on Your Car’s Battery

Dead batteries are one of the top service calls AAA Texas responds to during cold weather snaps. AAA Texas reminds vehicle owners that a car battery loses a third of its power in freezing weather. As the air outside cools, the oil in your car thickens. Parts move slower and your battery must use more power to turn over and start the engine.

Make sure your battery and charging system are up to par

A fully charged battery in good condition is required to start an engine in cold weather. Have your battery and charging system checked for optimum performance – particularly if your battery is more than three years old. Also, clean any corrosion from battery posts and cable connections; wipe away dirt and oil deposits on the case and make sure all hardware is secure.

Warning Signs Your Battery is Failing

  • Your car doesn’t start immediately or makes a clicking noise when you try to start the ignition.
  • Your headlights or interior lights are dim.

What You Can Do

  1. Park your car in a garage whenever possible. The less frigid the air is around your car, the better for your battery.
  2. Turn off your lights, wipers and heater before you turn off your engine at the end of a drive to prevent an unnecessary drain on the battery the next time you start your car.
  3. Unplug phone chargers and USB cables for devices like iPods as soon as you turn off your engine (for the same reason as #2).
  4. Avoid using your car’s heater longer than you need to; heaters puts extra strain on your battery.
  5. If you see corrosion on your battery, clean it or have it cleaned by a trained technician.

One last thing: keep a heavy blanket in your trunk during winter. If you ever break down and can’t use your heater in freezing weather, you’ll need it to keep warm until help arrives. That’s more of a life tip than a car tip. For AAA’s complete Winter Care Checklist, visit

In many areas, AAA members can request a visit from a AAA Mobile Battery Service technician who will test their battery and replace it on-site, if necessary.  Facilities also test and replace batteries. Nearby locations can be found at

About AAA: AAA provides more than 64 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of independently owned motor clubs and nearly 1,000 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, AAA has been a leader and advocate for the motorist and safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. AAA Texas branch offices throughout the state can be found by visiting