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my Chevy Cruze 2011 on two of the past extreme cold days (Canada), the temperature was on -32 to -38, didn't have the power to start the engine. The two times happened after using the car for about 30 minutes but using the heater, lights and so on. It didn't happen going out of home after an extremely cold night which is the moment I think the battery could be with less power.

Then I started to before leaving the car let the engine works for about 3 minutes with the heater off and somehow let the battery charged and till now works

My question is. Do I need to replace the battery or its a common problem to have this on extreme cold days? If someone has an explanation and some recommendations Thanks in advance.

  • I put a trickle charger on my car to help the battery in winter - 3 or so hours 4AM to 7Am helps no end ie just before I start it to go to work. As it has headlights heater etc... in use. – Solar Mike Jan 9 '18 at 14:34
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The chemical reactions that happen inside lead-acid batteries are hindered by cold temperatures, reducing the battery's ability to operate at that time. In addition to that, cold engines and oil demand more power from the battery to start than at normal temperatures.

When cold weather arrives, old or weak batteries tend to fail. In extreme conditions like you described, the typical 4 to 5-year battery life may be reduced. Extreme cold can kill a battery.

To answer your question, there is a good chance your battery has or is failing and needs to be replaced. In your case, with such extreme temperatures, it may be worth investing in a high-end battery and a battery blanket/warmer.

  • Good answer, I had to replace my batteries every 2-3 years back when I lived in a cold weather area. Also found that having a few more CCAs than required by the manual helped too. – GdD Jan 9 '18 at 16:54
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A lot of things come into play in Canadian winters, the health of your battery is just one of them. The type of motor oil you are running also greatly affects your ability to start in a deep cold.

My daily drive used to have all kids of trouble starting without a block heater when it was colder than -10C, which isn't an extreme cold by any means. Since I switched to full-synthetic motor oil, the engine starts fine as low as -30C, but -35C seems a bit too much.

Get your battery tested, many car parts stores will do this for free in the parking lot with your battery still installed in the car.

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You could "double crank": two batteries in PARALLEL have twice the CCA of a single one, helping greatly.

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