Frozen Battery

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

Hi Bob,
I really need your help with my car trouble. I own 90 Chevy Lumina (car). It was parked outside on the street in cold weather (-25 degrees C) for one night and next morning when I went to start my car it didn't start and sounded like my battery seemed dead. So I jump started my car and it started right up. But as soon as I took the cables off it would quit running.

I read your earlier article on this which suggested my alternator was dead. So I changed the alternator and started my car again. This time it started up okay and kept running even after taking off the booster cables. I thought my problems were over.

So to recharge my battery, I left it running and came inside. I went back to shut it off but it was already got turned off on its own. The headlights were very very dim. Once again battery didn't seem to have any power. I noticed the headlights were sort of flashing (going brighter and dimmer).

I don't know if my battery is dead or something else could be wrong. Can you please help? I don't want to walk in -30 degree C temperature for too long. Appreciate your help and hope to hear from you soon.

You probably have 2 problems, one a frozen battery (when they are weak they will freeze) and a bad alternator. I bet the car just stalled on its own. Will the car start again if it is jumped and stay running if you remove the cables? If so, then I bet all your troubles are due to a poor battery. In addition, you really should NOT charge a battery with an alternator. It really is not designed for that. Basically, all it is meant to do is supply enough power to run the car. Anything left over, it sends back to the battery to replenish what was used during the start process. But, it should not be used to charge a dead battery.
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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