Winter is the absolute worst time for a car battery to go. When temperatures drop to near or below zero, it is common for drivers to get stuck with a car that won’t start. This is because your car battery loses 33% of its power during the cold winter months, making it susceptible to failure. To prevent a dead battery in the middle of winter, your car’s battery needs its own care and maintenance.
Listed below are a few helpful tips on how to care for your car battery and help prevent it from stalling in cold weather.
Get your battery tested
If your car battery is approaching three years of age, it is a good time to get it tested. Have your mechanic test your battery when you take your car in for a routine oil change or tune-up. If you live in a colder region of the country, get your battery and electrical system checked before winter time. Winter is a common time for car batteries to die.
Check and Clean Connections
Corrosion and build up on battery terminals materialize over time. This build up can keep your car from starting and is a poor conductor of electricity. Clean off any corrosion with a stiff wire brush. Make sure the battery connections are clean and tight. A dirty battery connection will weaken the charge. You should also look to see that the fasteners and cables are in good shape.
Drive your Car
Driving your car keeps a charge in your battery. Letting your car sit for days or weeks on end only increases your chance of the car not starting. It’s good to drive for 20-minute intervals to keep the battery charged. Have a set of jumper cables on hand in case of an emergency.
Replace your Battery
If the battery in your car is 3-5 years old, it might be time for a new one. If your car shows any signs of a struggle when starting the engine, get your battery replaced. You might get lucky for a short time, but the battery can die at any moment. It’s much better to replace it at your convenience than because of a roadside emergency.
Park inside whenever possible
This should seem like a no-brainer but is still worth mentioning. Keeping your battery as warm as possible when not in use will make it easier to power back on next time you jump in to hit the road.
Whenever possible, keep your vehicles parked in a garage, shed or other indoor storage areas. This is particularly important for vehicle fleets since you have to rely on all your trucks and/or cars being in tip-top shape. Having a large area or facility to house your vehicles during the winter is a wise investment.
Always keep jumper cables in your vehicle
Even if your battery is in good shape and you’ve taken all the precautions, you can never be too careful. Along with all the other essential winter driving items, always make sure you keep a set of jumper cables handy in your vehicles.
You never know when you’ll be stuck in a jam, and when you are it pays to be prepared. You also never know when you may need to play the role of the Good Samaritan and need to help someone else out who didn’t follow these precautions.
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