Skip to main content

During the winter months, even in South Africa, your car’s battery could become more unreliable. The reason for this is that cold temperatures can impact your car’s battery performance by reducing its capacity to hold a charge and, in turn, making it unreliable.

The importance of having a reliable battery in winter cannot be understated. A weak or unreliable vehicle battery can leave you stranded in the cold, unable to start your vehicle. To help you avoid this, we’ll highlight the signs to watch for, allowing you to take proactive measures and prevent any inconvenient breakdowns during the chilly season.

But let’s talk about why cold weather ruins your battery’s performance.

Cold Weather and Battery Performance

Low temperatures affect a battery’s ability to generate power for several reasons.

The first reason is that colder weather can slow down the chemical reactions within the battery, resulting in increased internal resistance.

This resistance makes it harder for the battery to deliver the necessary power to start the engine.

The next factor is that cold weather can reduce your battery’s capacity to hold a charge.

Lastly, cold weather can put a strain on the electrical system because you might want to use various electrical components, such as heaters, defrosters, and lights, all at the same time.

This increased electrical load places additional pressure on the battery, making it work harder to meet the demand.

An additional issue to be aware of is engine oil becomes thicker in colder conditions, which puts more strain on the battery when starting the vehicle.

And lastly, cold weather conditions cause more condensation which leads to corrosion. Corrosion on the battery’s terminal points will affect the battery’s performance.

Now that we know why colder winter weather can affect your car’s battery, let’s focus on the tell-tale signs that it’s time to replace it.

Signs of Battery Weakness in Winter

Recognising the signs of a weak or failing battery is crucial as it allows you to take appropriate action before you’re left stranded. Here are some indicators to be aware of.

Slow Engine Crank

If you notice a sluggish or slow cranking sound when starting your vehicle, it could be a sign that your battery is struggling to deliver enough power. This is especially noticeable in cold weather.

Dim Lights and Electrical Issues

A weak battery may cause the headlights, interior lights, or dashboard lights to appear dim or flicker. Additionally, you may experience issues with power windows, locks, or the radio.

Frequent Jump Starts

If you start to need jump starts, this is a clear indication that your battery is not holding a charge effectively and may be nearing the end of its lifespan. Here’s how to jump start your car effectively.

Low Battery Voltage

You can use a multimeter or have a professional perform a battery voltage test, which will tell you whether or not you need to change your battery. A voltage reading below 12.4 volts when the vehicle is off indicates a weakened battery that may struggle in cold weather.

Battery Age

Consider the age of your battery. If you suspect your battery is approaching its time, it might be wise to be proactive and consider a replacement before winter arrives.

If you’ve noticed any of these signs, it could be time to replace your battery before winter. Luckily, SABAT can assist you.

Be Ready For Winter With SABAT

A reliable battery is essential, especially during the winter months. Being aware of the signs of battery weakness can help you avoid the inconvenience and frustration of a dead battery.

When you’re ready, you can visit one of our SABAT Battery Xpress outlets or


  • 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.

    View all posts
  • 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.

    View all posts
  • 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.

    View all posts