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Extreme cold weather can disrupt the performance of your car’s battery. While most of South Africa won’t be subjected to very chilly conditions, it’s best to know rather than being left in the cold with a car not starting.

So, if you do find your car parked outside in Sutherland, the Drakensberg, or even Lesotho, you’ll know what to do to prevent your battery from suffering these problems.

Reduced Battery Capacity

Extreme cold temperatures can decrease the capacity of a car battery. This is because of changes to the chemical reactions that happen inside the battery to generate power.

Cold temperatures slow down the electrochemical reactions that take place within the battery, reducing its ability to generate and store electrical energy.

In turn, this reduces its overall ability to deliver the required current to start the engine and decreases the battery’s overall performance and ability to hold a charge.

Increased Internal Resistance

Internal Resistance is defined as “the opposition to the flow of current offered by the cells and batteries themselves resulting in the generation of heat.”

When the weather is extremely cold, it increases the internal resistance of a battery, making it more difficult for the battery to deliver power.

This can result in slower cranking of the engine or even complete failure to start the vehicle.

Risk Of Freezing

It’s incredibly unlikely that your battery’s electrolyte solution will freeze, but in extreme conditions, it can.

If the battery’s electrolyte solution is not properly maintained or if the battery is already weak, extremely cold temperatures can cause the electrolyte to freeze.

Frozen electrolyte can harm the internal structure of the battery, resulting in permanent damage and requiring battery replacement.

Again, it is unlikely anywhere in South Africa will experience such an extreme temperature drop, but you can mitigate the risk of your battery suffering cold damage by parking it inside a garage.

Consult manufacturer’s owner manual prior to removing your battery from your vehicle and wrap it in a blanket in extreme circumstances.

But before the depths of winter set in, you can get your vehicle’s battery checked at local SABAT Battery Xpress, or local stockist.


  • Andrew McFarlane

    Andrew Macfarlane has accumulated over a decade of experience in content creation - graduating from the Red & Yellow Creative School of Business with a Diploma in Copywriting. When he is not engrossed in writing at his computer, he can be found tending to his garden or engaging in various DIY projects. His contributions as an author have been acknowledged in reputable publications such as the Sunday Times, Bizcommunity, and HotCars, further solidifying his reputation as a skilled and versatile writer.

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  • Heine Coetzer

    Name: Heine Coetzer Current Position: OEM and R&D Manager Qualifications: - N.Dip Electrical Engineering (Light Current); - B.Tech Electrical Engineering (Cum Laude) and; - Programme for Management Development (Gibbs) Experience: 17 years of experience in the South African battery industry covering Aftermarket sales and distribution, OEM sales and support, OEM product development, OEM quality systems, Research and Development, battery design, battery testing and benchmarking.

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  • Roger Harden

    Name: Roger Harden Current Position: Marketing Service Manager Qualifications: - National Higher Diploma Technika and; - Diploma in Marketing Management Experience: 30 years of experience covering new product and product gap analyses, range expansion, technical liaison for brands, product training, technical marketing as well as battery replacement updates.

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