Even the most well-maintained battery will eventually die, so be pro-active and ask your technician or auto service writer to give yours a check before you find yourself stranded.
As a battery ages, it gets weaker and weaker. And couple that fact with the knowledge that during the coldest days of the year it takes much more power to start your vehicle. Engines are far harder to turn over because all the oil inside them has thickened – and this demands much more power from a battery. Also, the chemical reactions that generate electricity are slower at lower temperatures, so an older battery is dealt a triple-whammy from Old Man Winter because the engine is harder to turn, the cold makes creating power more difficult and because they have LESS power to begin with because of their age. That is a recipe for a bad day.
Here are some maintenance tips to extend the life of your vehicle’s battery:
#1 VISUALLY INSPECT YOUR BATTERY
You should first inspect the battery casing for cracks, leaks and other damage. Damaged batteries need to be replaced immediately. The battery and cables should be free of corrosion, the cable ends should be secured to the battery posts securely, and the cables should be checked for damage and wear.
If you’re capable, remove the clamps and battery terminals to clean away grease, dirt & oxidation. Start with disconnecting the negative terminal first and reconnecting the negative terminal last. Dirty connections cause a voltage drop and slows the charge rate of the battery.
Check how secure it is. Give your car battery a few pokes to make sure it’s not loose on top of its holding tray. When this happens, your battery runs the risk of losing longevity. Too much vibration can even drastically cut down on the length of your battery’s life. If it’s loose, tighten it.
Hint: you shouldn’t be able to move the ends of the cable where they’re attached to your battery. If you can, use a tool to tighten the connection or make an appointment to have a service technician do it for you.
#2 – PARK INSIDE IF POSSIBLE
Another tip to help keep your battery working this winter is to park it inside. Protecting the battery from the freezing temperatures and the frigid winds will help keep its power level up. If parking in a garage isn’t possible, and it’s going to sit outside in the weather for several hours, start it up a few times and let the engine run. No warm garage? Insulate the battery using an insulation kit.
#3 REPLACE IT IF IT’S OLD
Your first step is prevention, so if it’s been more than four years since the last time you had a new battery installed, don’t even bother trying to get it in shape. Simply replace it with a new battery. It’s a cheap form of insuring yourself against getting stranded.
If you have any concerns about the health and performance of your vehicle’s battery, give us a call at 403.253.5555 and our service reps will be happy to book a convenient time for our technicians to check your battery and charging system.