2004 Ion battery

Bought a 2004 Ion3 in November, and I have a question about the battery placement...
Now, I had been taught that a battery wouldn't take a proper charge if its
temperature was below -10c. From what I can see on the Net, that's not the case, although severe cold will certainly affect that charge that the battery gets under normal driving.
When the battery's under the hood, it would get some warmth when the car was sitting idling...and get a bit better charge because it's sitting under the hood where it's warmer than out in the elements.
For anyone who's not familiar, the Ion's battery is sitting beside the dummy wheel, in the trunk. Great idea for keeping it away from extreme heat in the hot days of summer, water, salt, corrosion, etc etc, but...since the trunk compartment would see little or no heat from the interior of the car, and the compartment under the trunk 'floor' would see even less.....how will that affect the charging of the battery?
Right now, it's -22c out there, and -42c with the wind chill. (Just whining, since the wind chill doesn't affect cars and batteries...that's what they say, anyways..) For the next couple days it's going to bounce around between -25c and -30c....
I'm worried about running the battery down to the point that it won't start the car, since we make a lot of short trips. Since it starts the car about 6-10 times on an average day, after a few days, will it not be running pretty low on charge? (Taking more out of it than it's getting back..)
Thoughts?
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Don't know WHY Saturn chose this configuration (long cables, at start-up the voltage drop may be critical), but whichever rechargeable battery you use, it will warm itself during charge (or even discharge) as the process of converting electrical to chemical energy is not 100% efficient, so the delta in energies is converted to heat. Sufficient? No idea.
Do let us know if the battery gives up at this frigid weather (yes, it is cold out there, but it is sunny where I am - Ottawa @ -26 CO).

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A 'warm' battery will accept the charge. If you are concerned, the only real solution is to plug in - either a trickle charger or a battery blanket. A battery has only 40% of its cranking power available when the temperature drops to -40C but your engine needs 2 to 3 times as much power to crank it over. It can take 30 minutes to recharge by the alternator in very cold weather. But I assume your new ION snaps to life pretty easily, even in the cold, so I don't see much power being drained to begin with. And the act of cranking heats the battery as well. Just think of how many minutes some people crank and crank and crank their old junkers trying to make them start compared to the second or two you crank yours over. I really wouldn't worry about it. Lots of other ION owners aren't! 6-10 starts is nothing if you have any amount of run time inbetween (like 5-10 minutes) Oh, btw my battery (and most others) is at the front of the car getting nailed by 60km/h freezing cold while I drive, not much engine heat getting to it. And lots of short trips to the grocery store, school, babysitters, etc.

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It is at this stage of a cold winter that I offer an old school bus driver's trick.
The school bus could get hard to start in the middle of cold winter, especially if the battery were a few years old. The driver would get into position at the wheel, and then turn the key to ON, and then slightly "bump" the starter with START for only a fraction of a second. Then the driver would sit and wait while his wristwatch counted out sixty seconds. Then the driver would attempt a real start. In 98% of the cases, it would fire right up within a few seconds.
What was accomplished with the sixty second wait? That momentary surge of current to the starter was not enough to seriously drain the battery, but it was enough current to cause warming within the battery. The sixty seconds allowed the warming to circulate around the battery, thereby making it able to generate better cold-cranking-Amps for the real start.
---Bob Gross---
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I would bet that you will get at least 5 years out of your battery, and considering the cost per year, compared to other repairs, it's a cheap part. For me, I replace my battery every 5 years, and don't wait for it to die, risking getting stranded, or damaging the alternator. So after 5 years, get a new battery, and if it fails before then, the warranty should cover it.
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wow, in AZ we tend to replace our batteries once every 2-3 years.
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Heat can be harder on them.

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FYI, I live in the middle of New York state and still have my original battery in a '96 SL-1. I get it load tested every year, and it's still going strong. Buster

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It's been down to -30 here, no such problems with mine. Typically the charging system voltage is temperature-compensated to help the battery charge faster in cold temperatures. Also, the battery probably heats up a fair amount just from the charging current going through.
--
Robert Hancock Saskatoon, SK, Canada
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It is strange that they put battery into trunk. I consider this as dangerous design. Battery, when charges produces gasses. Every battery charger has warning to charge battery only in well ventilated rooms. I would like to know, how trunk is ventilated. The long high power cables and perhaps their corrosion could create another fire hazard.
Jan

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A lot of new vehicles batteries are in the trunk area now. Some are MUCH worse than that. However to answer the question, it is better in the trunk where it is protected from the air better than under the hood, and the trunk gets a surprising amount of heat through the air venting system built in to the car, As to charging, your cars system will charge it regardless of temperature, and actually sets the charge a bit higher when it is cold out just to help heat the battery some. A battery will charge unless it is frozen or damaged.
--
Steve W.


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Back when cars used 6V charging systems (I know, I am dating myself), the VW beetle's battery was underneath the rear passenger seat. Not an easy place for maintenance. Of course since it was a rear-engine car, the voltage drop was small.
I later had an MGB (Lucas electrical system Ugh!). The batteries (two 6V batteries hooked up in series) where located in a well behind the seats. One battery on each side of the drive shaft.
All in all, I think the engine heat produced by cars now a days is a battery's main enemy, so moving it away from the engine is a good thing, provided the manufacturer doesn't skimp on the wire gauge used between the battery and the starter motor.
--
Rudy Garcia


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Actually, the Beetle's battery has always been beneath the rear seat.....clear up to the end of production, last year.
Dave
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GM thought of that.. the vents on the battery are connected into plastic lines which terminate in a vent outside the body of the car underneath the trunk.
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Robert Hancock Saskatoon, SK, Canada
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What is the issue with a well ventilated area if the battery gases are vented to the outside of the car?
No, USDOT, (US Department of Transportation) long ago set up a flammability standard starting with anti flame propagation wafers in vent caps pertaining to the design of lead acid battery venting.
Actually, GM started with the Corvette back in the 70's with hoses connected to the vent caps which vented the battery below the floorboard behind the driver's seat.

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