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Battery needs care in winter

As the weather gets colder, a vehicle battery’s ability to provide enough power to start and run the engine is reduced. In cold weather, the engine needs more power to start, which can cause battery failure.

Shannon Drake of Midas suggests the following tips:

  • Keep your vehicle sheltered. Park it in a garage, invest in a cover, park next to warm buildings, or try to park in a sheltered area facing east so that as the sun rises it will ever so slightly start warming up your vehicle.
  • Give the battery enough time to warm up in the early morning. Turn on the ignition and let the alternator charge the battery before turning on the radio, lights, air-conditioner or start driving.
  • Good maintenance is key. Batteries need good and thorough maintenance to keep running. They should be maintained in a fully charged state by the vehicle’s charging system. Should you suspect the battery is not functioning properly, have it checked by a professional.
  • When charging the battery, make sure that the vehicle is in a well ventilated area and follow proper recharging schedules to prevent the battery from overcharging.
  • If you are attempting to jump-start the vehicle, make sure to read the manual. Certain manufacturers do not recommend jump starting vehicles, while others require special instructions related to a specific model. Make sure to use the correct polarity connection when recharging and fitting, and ensure that your battery is always clean and dry, with the terminals coated with the correct protectors.
  • Make sure the battery is always in a good condition to not get stranded in the dark on a quiet road. One of the easiest ways of doing this is to avoid leaving your vehicle parked with accessories like the radio or lights switched on for extended periods.
  • Do not lean over a battery when charging or testing and never put metal objects on top of a battery.

Ideally, a battery should last between three and five years. But climate, demands placed on the battery and driving habits can impact the battery’s life. Keeping an eye on the age of the battery and remembering to have it tested regularly as it gets older will keep you charged and on the road.

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