Will the Ignition Interlock Device Drain my Battery in Cold Weather?

Let’s face it. Old Man Winter can take a toll on your car. The last thing you want to worry about is your battery dying. So, if you’ve been wondering, “Will the ignition interlock device drain my battery in cold weather?” we’re here to put your mind at ease. The ignition interlock device will not drain your battery in cold weather, under normal circumstances.

By normal circumstances, we mean you’re driving most days, and charging up your battery. You may also want to get your battery checked to ensure it’s in good shape before the deep winter freeze sets in. Your battery is more likely to die because you left the lights on or left something charging in your car than it is because you have an IID installed.

But there are several things you can do in cold weather to protect your car battery and your interlock device. We recommend that you put your IID into sleep mode if you will be away from your car for several hours, such as while you’re at work, or overnight. This will decrease the amount of juice the IID uses. With some units, the device will automatically enter sleep mode when you turn off the engine. You can also do it manually. When you are ready to use the device again, just press the navigation button to wake it up.

If you are going on vacation and leaving your car behind, be sure to call your service location to let them know. They may have some tips for you. You will want to make sure that if you have a service visit scheduled for while you will be away, you reschedule it.

Keeping the Handset Warm

There are a few things you can do to keep the handset warm, including:

  1. In some states, such as Minnesota, you are allowed to detach a wired handset and bring it into the house overnight. Don’t do this unless your program allows it.
  2. If you have a wireless handset, definitely bring it inside during extremely cold weather.
  3. At the very least, detach the mouthpiece and bring it into work or your house overnight.
  4. Do not store the handset on the floor of your car, where it can come into contact with snow or ice.
  5. Blow into the unit a few times before attaching the mouthpiece and turning the device on to take a test. This helps warm it up a bit.

One other thing — don’t leave your vehicle running unattended in the wintertime. Sure, it’s nice to warm up your car, but some states may require you to submit to a rolling retest when the engine is running, even if the vehicle is in park.

Frigid Temperatures Affect the Boot Up Time

If your handset gets extremely cold, it may take a minute or two longer for it to boot up than it would in warmer temperatures. In warm temperatures, the device will normally be ready to use in about 15 seconds. With freezing temperatures, you can expect it to be ready to use in about one minute. Below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, it will take up to 2 minutes before the device is ready to use.

By following the steps above, you can decrease the time it takes for the device to allow you to initiate a startup test. And blowing into a warm mouthpiece is better than blowing into a cold mouthpiece!

As always, if you have an issue with your ignition interlock device, you can check out our Support page for troubleshooting tips, or call us 24/7.

Schedule Ignition Interlock Device Installation with ALCOLOCK

You can schedule your ignition interlock device installation appointment with ALCOLOCK at any time of year. Just call the service location most convenient to your home or work to schedule your IID installation, or call ALCOLOCK at (866) 700-9300. When you choose an installation location, keep in mind that where you have your installation done is where you will have your regularly scheduled service appointments.

Your installation appointment should take about an hour. During that time the technician will perform the physical installation of the device, and train you how to use it. They will also go over what all of the device sounds and messages mean. You will get a user’s manual to help you if you have questions. Lastly, they will schedule your first service visit. You can expect each service visit to take about 20 minutes.

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