Battery in cold weather

Hello,
During cold weather, when it's close to, or below, freezing in your garage (or parking), what do you do to keep your battery alive? I've had to jump start my car twice already after it
sat in the garage at about freezing point (2-3 C, 34-36 F) for a couple of days.
I've looked at getting a new battery, a trickle charger, a jump starter, thought of disconnecting the battery and bringing it home... All those options differ in price, outcome, the hassle (of installing the trickle charger, resetting some features after the battery is disconnected)...
What's your solution?
Thank you.
Victor
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.

often below freezing, no problems.
Steve
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You must be new to the winter wonderland!
If your car is running properly and has a good battery with good connections you should expect it to start without any extraordinary measures. If you have needed to jump start it in temps that are still 'shirt sleeve weather' then you have tune-up / battery issues that need to be resolved first.
Go to a parts store and have them test your battery. That is most likely the main problem.
Tony '91 100q 5spd
Victor Bazarov wrote:

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You can say that. I'd lived many years above the 55th parallel, but I've never owned a car there. Then I'd owned several cars, but all in weather with temperatures above freezing. Now, last winter our other car, a Subaru, behaved normally, during quite a cold winter in New England. Of course, its battery was relatively new then (less than 1 yr old).

That's not what folks in a parts store said. If the car is not used (running) for several days in cold weather, some measures need to be taken to sustain the battery charge. That's why I asked about the trickle charger. I guess nobody here had any need in one (or didn't know they had a need in it)...

Well, it is not a 'short sleeve weather' right now. However, it does not mean my car doesn't have any problems. I'd love to be able to diagnose them before going into any significant expense.

That's the whole stumbling block for me at this point. I have gone to a parts store, and they did check the battery. They said it's _fine_. That's why I am so reluctant to spend 60-70 bucks just to replace one fine battery with another, which may behave the same way in similar conditions...
Thank you.
Victor

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Or, may be the folks at the parts store have a bit too much inventory of trickle chargers. If things are right in the system, I expect a car to sit at least two weeks in the cold and still start fine.

Depends on your frame of reference. I'm in Minnesota. Gets COLD here for a long time.
However, it does

Removing the positive lead from the battery and testing the current draw with everything off should show only minimal current draw (micro amps) to operate the radio memory, clocks and such. You may want to check your owners manual before doing this because disconnecting the battery might cause your air bag to show an error code that the dealer needs to re-set.

Did is seem that they used a device that was called a Load Tester? A volt meter will not test the battery correctly.

My guess that your battery was the problem was, of course, just a guess. Your suspicion that other issues are causing the problem is sounding likely.
The next thing to try might be to remove and clean the battery terminals. Although the might look clean they can develop high resistance connections over time. Again, check manual for code issues if disconnecting the battery.
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as people try to believe. I would recommed to change it. If the problem isn't with that, you still have new battery which lasts for several years to come.
Up here it might be few weeks under -30C (~-20F) every winter, and most of the winter below -10C (~20F) and most of the people don't seem to understand that at these conditions you must have quite new battery or no hope starting the car if it has stood for several days. A thumbrule would be that you should change the battery every second year, or latest every third. Most people change it when they can't charge it anymore at all. :) 85% of the people are dumber than the average.
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This is interesting. My son has the same car as you - 98 A4 2.8 Tiptronic 30V.
He just returned from a five day trip to NYC and found that his battery was dead. He expects to find that the battery is the issue but hasn't checked it yet.
Tony '91 100q 5spd
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wrote:

Context counts: how old is the battery? for that matter, how old is the car? and how well does your car's charging system work? is the alternator ancient? is the belt so glazed it is slipping at high alternator loads? are you depending on the last few uncorroded strands of the grounding cable?
Battery technology is so well characterized by the manufacturers that when they say "36 month battery" you're treading on thin ice once it reaches 40 months. Same applies around 54 months for a 48 month battery.
If that's your situation, replace the battery. If not, seek help for either a charging problem (when the car is actually running), or a *discharge* problem (ie: your car is leaking energy when parked)...
cheers
/daytripper '00 s4 6spd
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If I'm going to hazard a guess, it's about as old as the car: 5 yrs. It's EXIDE 60 Premium, and it has the number 0042187 on it, twice printed on a piece of paper attached to the casing. It has markings of months and [years], but none noted in any way (like with a notch or a cross or...) It looks in good condition, the contacts are not corroded.

1998 A4 2.8Q, I got it a few months ago.

The voltmeter on the dash shows 14+ volts all the time when the engine is running. Beyond that I've no idea how to check. Advice?
I read in the manual that if the voltmeter shows 12-14, it's fine.

Could be, how do I check? Of course, I don't think it would be older than the car, unless somebody purposely replaced the original with another, older one (for whatever reason).

Doesn't seem like it, the car has been meticulously maintained at Audi dealerships.

Which is quite possible my problem. If it's 60-months battery (judging from the name), and it is original (guessing), it's time is either over or close to over.

It would be nice to learn how to check for leaks. Any suggestions? Can it be done outside a dealer's shop?
Thank you for your response (and thanks to others who replied).
Victor
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Victor Bazarov wrote:

Time to replace the battery. It's definitely not the factory battery (Exide is absolute crap and not the factory battery for Audi). Get a new (non-exide) battery. I prefer AGM type batteries from companies like Optima or Deka (which is what I use)
http://www.optimabatteries.com/index.asp http://www.eastpenn-deka.com/index.html
Though pretty much anything should perform better than an Exide.
Cheers,
C
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On Sun, 07 Dec 2003 19:59:18 GMT, "Victor Bazarov"

If it is... change it. It won't hurt and you have one possibility ruled out.

Check what the voltmeter says with ignition on but no running engine. The battery of my A6 is now 4 years old. When I got the car new, the voltmeter showed something between 12 and 13 Volt when not running. Now it shows something between 10 and 11 Volts when not running. As soon as the engine is started, the Voltage rises to 14+ V just as it did in the beginning. But I know it's not new anymore, and yes, I do have the feeling the engine is cranked over more slowly with the bad battery.
The battery will be changed next week during the 110.000 km service.
Gru
Wolfgang
--
*
(Das ist meine Standard-Sig gezipped mit Sigzip)

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wrote:

The advice to give the battery terminals a good cleaning is certainly worth a try, but from everything you've provided I'd say your battery has reached the end of its useful life...
/daytripper '00 s4 6spd
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All Exide (GNB) Batteries use a dating code consisting of a letter and number on a sticker indicating when it is shipped to the reseller. This is an indirect estimate of its inservice date.
http://www.exide.co.nz/pdf/1.3.pdf
A = January
B = February
C = March
4 = 1994 or 2004
5 = 1995 or 2005
6 = 1996 or 2006
Jon
2001 A6 2.7TQ Ming Blue
2001 A4 1.8TQ Catcus Green

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My '98 battery is still running strong although last year it "coughed" a bit. Just before discarding it, try refilling the vases with distilled water. It did the trick for me. Batteries that boast a free-maintenance sticker turn out to be not completely so.
My two cents,
JP Roberts

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If the battery has ports get yourself a hydrometer.
I tested a new (14000 miles) battery myself with a hydrometer and found 4 of the 6 cells well below the recommended SG level. This was following a charge for a day.
Took it back to the dealership where I bought the car new for their "expert" to test it. Three days later he tells me battery is OK, I ask "did you test it with a hydrometer" the phone line went quiet and he then says "No we did a spark test". I go get battery and test again, it's still faulty as far as SG goes.
I complain to the dealer that their "expert" aint an expert......got replacement FREE under warranty for car.
Dont take for granted what the experts have to say
don

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Something is draining the battery. Glove compartment light, bad alarm, trunk light, hood light, something. A good battery should be good for 2-4 weeks in 10 degree weather.

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