Why Won't a Frozen Battery Start a Vehicle.

A battery that is perfectly good why when it is -30C won't it start a vehicle. Please note we are referring to a perfectly good battery and a totally functioning car.
What is happening to the battery that it cannot crank the starter fast enough. Chemically something is happening inside the battery. Is it the electrolyte that freezes and chemically do what it should do? Does something happen to the lead plates? Does the 12 volts drop to a lower voltage? Does the current output of the battery drop?
The cold is doing something to the battery What Is That Something? Well informed auto mechanics please step up to the plate!
I do not need to start my vehicle my spare battery connected in parallel with the frozen battery does that.
If your frozen battery won't start your vehicle and you remove it and take it indoors and let it heat up to house temperature, after reinstall it on the vehicle' it will then start the vehicle.
What is happening to the battery internally at -30C?
Denny B
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wrote:
|A battery that is perfectly good why when it is -30C |won't it start a vehicle. |Please note we are referring to a perfectly good battery |and a totally functioning car. |What is happening to the battery that it cannot crank |the starter fast enough. |Chemically something is happening inside the battery. |Is it the electrolyte that freezes and chemically do what |it should do? Does something happen to the lead plates? |Does the 12 volts drop to a lower voltage? Does the current |output of the battery drop?
CCA Cold Cranking Amperes is measured at Zero degrees Fahrenheit.
If it is colder than Zero, -available_ CCA is less.
Your chemical reaction to electrical cannot happen fast enough to feed enough current. Solution: Warm up the battery. Bring it into the house overnight.
|The cold is doing something to the battery What Is That |Something? |Well informed auto mechanics please step up to the plate! | |I do not need to start my vehicle my spare battery connected |in parallel with the frozen battery does that. | |If your frozen battery won't start your vehicle and you remove |it and take it indoors and let it heat up to house temperature, |after reinstall it on the vehicle' it will then start the vehicle. | |What is happening to the battery internally at -30C? | |Denny B | | |
Lg
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===================I think he needs to ask on the group alt.batteries.chemistry or....look it up himself! LOL
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|
| |> wrote: |> |> |A battery that is perfectly good why when it is -30C |> |won't it start a vehicle. |> |Please note we are referring to a perfectly good battery |> |and a totally functioning car. |> |What is happening to the battery that it cannot crank |> |the starter fast enough. |> |Chemically something is happening inside the battery. |> |Is it the electrolyte that freezes and chemically do what |> |it should do? Does something happen to the lead plates? |> |Does the 12 volts drop to a lower voltage? Does the current |> |output of the battery drop? |> |> CCA |> Cold Cranking Amperes |> is measured at Zero degrees Fahrenheit. |> |> If it is colder than Zero, -available_ CCA is less. |> |> Your chemical reaction to electrical cannot happen fast enough to feed |> enough current. Solution: Warm up the battery. Bring it into the |> house overnight. |===================|I think he needs to ask on the group alt.batteries.chemistry or....look |it up himself! LOL
It seems simple. In fact, it is not simple. I made a generalization ( short answer ) but not a good explanation from Scientific point of view.
I know people who live in Bimiji Minnesota bring their car batteries into their houses overnight. That is Standard Operating Procedure up there, as I know from somebody who once lived in that area.
Battery technology is rather complicated really, but this question is why is CCA capacity reduced as temperature is reduced. I think the answer ( short ) is that the electrochemical process of transferring ions from electrolyte to plates is slowed down as the cells become colder and colder, to a point that there is not enough current to power the starter anymore. ( short answer ).
Heat being the catalyst, once removed, diminishes the CCA until the battery is warmed. ( short answer ).
Long answer is a bunch of electrical and chemical formulas 8-)
Lg
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or....look
Actually, it is the chemical nature of the battery. As the battery gets colder, the voltage of the battery goes down. And as the voltage goes down, the amount of current that the batter can deliver through a fixed resistance goes down, too. By the way, as the temp. goes down, the amount of energy required to turn an engine over goes up, but the fluids in the engine are thicker. So, less power yet more power is needed.
Jeff

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wrote:
|Actually, it is the chemical nature of the battery. As the battery gets |colder, the voltage of the battery goes down. And as the voltage goes down, |the amount of current that the batter can deliver through a fixed resistance |goes down, too. By the way, as the temp. goes down, the amount of energy |required to turn an engine over goes up, but the fluids in the engine are |thicker. So, less power yet more power is needed. | |Jeff
Well, Jeff, when I can get to it, I'm going to be putting Mobil 1 0W20 into my 2003 Sable. That should cut down on the strain on the starter motor. But, so far, the Sable starts right up ( it should, the battery is new, as in 6,400 miles on the car ).
Right now I have Motorcraft 5W20 in there, but the -dealer- put it in there. I would have switched to Mobil 1 on _day_one_ but whatever.
Lg
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Those poor folks down south in Bemidji (lovely country, BTW). Up north here the garage (unheated) and block heaters are items of choice, say, a couple weeks ago when highs were -20F. While the battery doesn't have as many CCA when frigid (or, as the weather guys say, bitter cold), it doesn't have to work as hard if the coolant is warmed by the block heater. Can't figure out how my unheated garage is A LOT warmer than ambient outside, but it is and makes a big difference. Another little secret is parking car with grill out of the wind; while wind does not affect mechanical devices, it does cool them down to ambient faster.
--
Raider Rick
"Just drive, baby"
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On Sat, 7 Feb 2004 20:04:11 -0600, "Rapid Rick"
|Those poor folks down south in Bemidji (lovely country, BTW). Up north here |the garage (unheated) and block heaters are items of choice, say, a couple |weeks ago when highs were -20F. While the battery doesn't have as many CCA |when frigid (or, as the weather guys say, bitter cold), it doesn't have to |work as hard if the coolant is warmed by the block heater. Can't figure out |how my unheated garage is A LOT warmer than ambient outside, but it is and |makes a big difference. Another little secret is parking car with grill out |of the wind; while wind does not affect mechanical devices, it does cool |them down to ambient faster.
Sure, I keep my car in the garage all year round. For security reasons as much as any other. I run 5W20 in this car ( just changed it today, Valvoline brand ), and have no trouble whatsoever. Of course, we're not down to -20F at the moment.
Even so, I have two jump kits, one 17.5 AH and another 12AH. That's what a lot of folks around here use. The jump kits stay in the house charged, until it is time to use them. Going on a trip, I toss one on the back floor of the car for *just in case.*
When I was working in Fargo, North Dakota in the middle of a horrid winter, I used the block heater by plugging the car into a parking space outlet at the hotel. 25 below zero Fahrenheit at that time. So cold, that Northwest couldn't get their aircraft started, something about not being able to fuel the airplane at that temperature. Don't know if it was a mechanical problem or what, but had to drive to Minneapolis to try and get a flight. Missed the last one out, and spent the night -trying- to sleep on airport seats ( impossible to do, BTW ). Maybe they should put block heaters in airplanes.
Anyhow, in a driving storm, I always try to park so the grill ( front ) is on the lee side of the storm, not getting battered with direct wind, as that will drive snow and ice into the engine compartment. I let the tail end of the car take the hit.
All in all, I don't have problems starting cars in cold weather, but it seems an awful lot of other people do. Go figure. 99% of the times I've had to jump other people, it was their battery and battery cables/terminals that were _shot_. Pure -neglect- on their part.
Lg
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A battery produces electricity as a result of chemical reactions between the sulphuric acid and the plates. Chemical reactions slow with cold and increase with heat. Age, like cold, also decreases a battery's ability to generate electricity. An engine block warmed by a block heater will require less energy to turn over but if: 1) the battery is several years old, or 2) the outside temperature is low enough, or 3) both, the battery will not win the 'contest'. Battery blankets which sold for about $10 used to be available years ago and were designed to give the battery a temperature lift in cold weather but may not be available anymore. They had a vinyl shell which wrapped around the sides of the battery with a electrical cord which was plugged in along with the block heater. In super cold climates, a plate might be used instead which was installed beneath the battery but served the same purpose of heating the battery. It too would have an electrical cord which would be plugged in. Low viscosity oil is also very helpful in cold conditions. For example, 0W-30 is designed for cold conditions as is 5W-30 although the latter can generally safely be used year-round (except in places like say Ecuador). Finally, as a last resort, once an engine has been shut off in cold weather, if no plug-in is available, it is necessary to re-start the engine say every four hours and let it warm to operating temperature before shutting it off and repeating the procedure until the vehicle can be returned to a warm garage or where a plug-in is available. And yes keeping the front of the vehicle aimed away from the wind in cold weather is smart. Best of luck for next winter. The worst of this one should be over.

here
CCA
out
out
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Here is how lead-acid battery works at chemical level:
BACKGROUND THEORY: ======================================================The storage battery, or secondary cell, which can be recharged by reversing the chemical reaction, was invented in 1859 by the French physicist Gaston Plant. Plant's cell was a lead-acid battery, the type widely used today. The lead-acid battery, which consists of three or six cells connected in series, is used in automobiles, trucks, aircraft, and other vehicles. Its chief advantage is that it can deliver a strong current of electricity for starting an engine; however, it runs down quickly. The electrolyte is a dilute solution of sulfuric acid, the negative electrode consists of lead, and the positive electrode of lead dioxide. In operation, the negative lead electrode dissociates into free electrons and positive lead ions. The electrons travel through the external electric circuit, and the positive lead ions combine with the sulfate ions in the electrolyte to form lead sulfate. When the electrons reenter the cell at the positive lead-dioxide electrode, another chemical reaction occurs. The lead dioxide combines with the hydrogen ions in the electrolyte and with the returning electrons to form water, releasing lead ions in the electrolyte to form additional lead sulfate.
A lead-acid storage cell runs down as the sulfuric acid gradually is converted into water and the electrodes are converted into lead sulfate. When the cell is being recharged, the chemical reactions described above are reversed until the chemicals have been restored to their original condition. A lead-acid battery has a useful life of about four years. It produces about 2 V per cell.
Microsoft Encarta Reference Library 2003. 1993-2002 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. ========================================================= That is another *short* answer. Very short, but to the point, if you make a drawing.
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When a battery gets cold, its voltage drops. This is the nature of the chemical reaction for the battery.
When the voltage drops, the amount of power of the battery can give goes down a lot.
Technically: When the voltage goes down, the amount of current it send out over a fixed resistance is decreased. I = V / R (Current in Amps = Voltage in volts / Resistance in Ohms). Also power = voltage x Current. Which means power = V * V / R. So if the voltage drops to 2/3, the amount of power in the battery drops by almost 1/2.
Also, when an engine is real cold, it takes more power to crank the engine because the oil si very thick (unless you have synthetic) and the engine does not turn over nearly as easily as when it is warm.
So you need more power when you have less.

The battery fluid is not frozen (if it were frozen, the battery will crack adn the fluid leak out just like when a can of soda freezes). It just that the voltage goes down and the power of the battery goes way down.
Actually, when my battery wouldn't start my car, I thought of doing this, but, the problem is that I knew it would get cold again, so I just got a new battery. It wasn't that old, only about 6 1/2 years. If I lived in Florida I would probably get another year out of it.
Jeff

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Denny B wrote:

look in any chemistry book and you will see what it is doing.. chemicals do their best at about 75 deg. and mix correctly.. when freezine temp. you not gonna get a chemical mix.. thats your problem.... the cold it ruining the chemical makeup of the battery and it will not work......
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Can you start when you frozen ? ? ? ? Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
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(...)

Really? When people have an internal temperature of about 75 deg, they are almost always dead.

What happens when you put salt on ice? It melts and the salt goes into solution. Gee, wrong again.

Wrong!
You still have a good chemical mix at low temperatures. It is that the voltage goes down as a function as temperature.The colder the temperature, the lower the voltage.
Read here: http://www.psigate.ac.uk/newsite/reference/plambeck/chem2/p02101.htm
Gee, isn't chemistry fun?
Especially when you understand what you are talking about?
Jeff
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It's funny that my friend and I have been talking about batteries lately. My battery died (had to jump it) and he told me to get a new one. A day later, *his* battery also died! I have an interstate battery, 550cca (stock for my car) which has caps. It took about a quart of (distilled, of course) water! Label on the battery says it was purchased ~Late '97. My friend is replacing his battery (sealed) and he keeps telling me to do the same, even though it's started fine every day since I added the water. Who's right here? :)
-GV
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Yours may last for some time. You did the right thing by adding distilled water. If it is 6 years old, it may be on its last legs though.
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Perhaps, we have hot summers and bitter cold winters here (figures). I did not realize I had a maintenance battery or I would be checking it every year like you are supposed to. 1qt of distilled water in 6.5 years isnt' too bad I guess? And it's just been this bitter cold winter that I've had issues, prior winters weren't that bad. I'm just going to keep an eye on it, if it keeps starting I won't worry about it until it truly dies. If it doesn't start my local Interstate dealer has scratch'n'dent (not used) batteries for $30, I figure that's cheap enough.
-GV
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By the way, where do you live - Mars? Oufff, that's cold.
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When a battery freezes, electrons are unable to leave their orbits and re-attach themselves to other molecules. the lower temperature changes the shape of the molecules that make up the electrolyte solution in the battery. If you think of heat as energy, you can see that as the amount of heat decreases, so does the movement of electrons thus hindering the ability of electrons to break out of their orbits and move onto other molecules.
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