With temperatures approaching freezing and so many gray days, it’s no wonder we often feel sleepy and sluggish during this time of year. Did you know that your car battery experiences something similar in cold weather? As the temperature drops, it can become more difficult for your battery to get enough energy to start your car. Thankfully, there are a handful of things you can do to help make sure you don’t get stranded with a dead car battery this winter!
Check the age of your battery
How old is your car battery? If your battery is older than four or five years old, it could be nearing the end of its life. Your battery is like the heart of your vehicle, so why gamble with it? Know its age and get it replaced when it’s “getting up there” in years. The production date of the battery is typically stamped or engraved on the top or side of the battery, depending on the manufacturer. Look for a letter and a digit, with the letter indicating the month the car battery was manufactured and the digit indicating the year it was manufactured. For example, if your battery said “D13,” it was shipped in April 2013 and is about three years old.
Clean off corrosion around the terminals
Turn off the car, pop the hood, and look at your battery. Do you see any white powder around the terminals? That’s corrosion, which increases electrical resistance and makes your battery work harder than it needs to. You can use standard household products to clean off and prevent corrosion. But if you’d rather not deal with it yourself, bring your car by your local auto repair shop, Albion Auto, for a Battery Terminal Cleaning Service and Corrosion Protection Package.
Install a battery blanket
You’re not the only one who appreciates a warm blanket on a cold day! Purchase an electric battery blanket to insulate your battery when temperatures dip. It will help prevent your battery’s fluid from freezing and help your car roar to life on a cold morning. You can find battery blankets for about $20 to $50 online or at your local auto parts store. Battery blankets are simple to install and only require a nearby electrical outlet. Just plug it in, wrap the blanket around your battery, and it will thank you – by working correctly! As always, consult your owner’s manual before using a battery blanket.
Limit your use of accessories that strain the battery
You probably feel freezing when you hop into your car in the winter. However, take a minute before you crank up the heat and your radio, lights, or cell phone charger. Let your alternator charge the battery for a bit before adding the strain of accessories. When you get out of your car, do the reverse. Turn everything off so your battery isn’t bombarded with demands when you start it up later!
Keep your battery charged
A depleted battery is more likely to freeze up and fail than one that’s fully charged. If you notice your car straining to start or “turn over” when you turn the key in the ignition, it might be time to pull out the charger. Give your battery some juice so it can better withstand harsh winter temperatures. You can find a basic portable car battery charger online for around $30, depending on the charger brand and amps delivered.
Get your battery tested before it lets you down
When it comes to the state of your battery, ignorance is not bliss. Rather than getting caught in the cold with a dead battery, visit Albion Auto for a free battery test! With a quick diagnostic test, you can find out just how much life your battery has left and when you may need a new car battery.