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Frozen truck battery


Mr. Congeniality
GOLD Site Supporter
My truck battery has not been holding a charge, and I've jumped it 3 times in the last 6 weeks. It sits outside and doesn't seem to like the cold. Wouldn't start today so I got out the charger and hooked it up, and the charger acted wierd. Shut it off and popped the caps only to find ice on top of each of the cells. Called my mechanic who installed it for me in July 2013, and he's getting a new one for me tomorrow. In all my years of vehicle ownership, I've never had a battery freeze up on me like that. It's almost like they put water in it instead of acid.


Unemployed Veg. Peddler
SUPER Site Supporter
When charging a frozen battery with a charger it creates a real mess when it blows up and takes out many of the electrical components of the vehicle.

Snowtrac Nome

member formerly known as dds
GOLD Site Supporter
yes frozen battery's are defiantly dangerous. they can explode I have seen wet charged battery sold new be bad, the serial number on the side will tell how old the battery is. before you put in a battery check for a draw I have seen even good battery's drawn down, by leaving dome lights, or headlights on and freezing hard.
I finally read why deeply discharged batteries freeze, the acid takes up residence on the lead plates in a deep discharge leaving the water in the solution undiluted and able to freeze. The way it was explained is batteries produce voltage from a chemical reaction. Sorry I did not think of it that way, you learn something every day. A fully charged battery has more acid in solution in the electrolyte and will not freeze, a deeply discharged battery will. I now bring all the batteries in unused machinery I own, inside for the winter and charge them monthly. I have found even a deep discharge can ruin newer batteries in any weather. Except for deep cycle batteries.


Well-known member
GOLD Site Supporter
Sounds like what I do. Every fall, I go around pulling all the batteries and storing them in the heated house garage and charge them all on a rotation every month. With the amount of batteries, I have to do something. Lol. Here's the list...

3 in the boat
4 in one golf cart
1 in another golf cart
3 in the campers
3 in the quads

I have a dedicated shelf in the garage for the batteries and chargers. I also keep a spare battery and a set of cables in the plow truck. Mainly because my old plow truck had a constant battery drain I could never find. So every time I was done plowing, I had to pull a battery cable.


Proudly Deplorable
GOLD Site Supporter
That -9F we had in January froze one of the batteries in my One ton dodge. After which it would not hold a charge. Truck was driven daily so no reason other than age for the failure. I had to replace both of them.

After replacing the batteries, I went to start the truck and smoked the starter.

Truck is only 28 years, old. WTF? :unsure:
I had to work for Amtrak for a while in Shelby Montana and the locals used battery blankets, it slips over the outside of your battery and you plug it in along with your block heater. People who live in really cold temperatures figure this stuff out. Here in the states a decent battery is 200 dollars. I don’t mind buying car parts but killing batteries gets old quick. I have owned several AGM batteries and they seem to be the way to go. I have one for my Cessna. They are a good ten year battery when compared to the lead acid ones. Oddssey batteries red top is a good battery. Their cheap to ship because they can’t spill. Summit Racing has good prices on them. In my airplane I pull the ground cable after every flight, the same with other stuff that tends to sit.


Well-known member
GOLD Site Supporter
When I was young living in Michigan. if you wanted your car to start in January, you put a light bulb under the hood at night.
My 1967 Bombardier will not start below 20 degrees, it just cranks. I installed a Napa auto parts block heater, the one that looks like a bottle with a hose connection off the side and one at the top. It is called a circulation tank heater. Also my bendix on the starter was hanging up after start up for a few seconds. The block heater has cured both problems. I think it is 850 watts. The brand is Kat's and the model number is 13080. I have to start this old flathead up regularly to plow my neighborhood so I can't play games. We see 10 below here in this area but usually above zero. My battery is in a plastic box to cut down the wind chill. I cover the engine compartment with a tarp each night and I'm liking the results. A freeze plug heater is a gamble because on these old engines you have no guarantee the heater will fit in the block. This heater I installed came with a 5/8 hose to 3/8 npt adapter that fit where my drain valve was on the crankcase. I know this is a discussion on batteries but, it's also a winter operation discussion as well. My good friend who lived in Alaska for many years tells me you always brought your battery in for the night and reinstalled it in the morning, end of problem. If your vehicle will tolerate removal of the ground cable when parked that is a good guarantee against parasitic draw down of the battery.
Kat's battery thermal wrap. The days of bringing your battery in for the night are over.