7 Steps to Keep Your Battery From Leaving You Out in the Cold
Here’s a chilling fact: Cold weather affects auto batteries more than any other engine component. That’s because they’re filled with fluid containing mostly water and are susceptible to freezing when the battery is not fully charged.
“In colder temperatures, engines require more cranking amps and batteries are less efficient,” explained Interstate Batteries engineering services manager Gale Kimbrough, also known as “Mr. Battery.” “That reduces the battery’s charge acceptance and ability to start an engine. If not properly maintained, it could create a big damper on your travel plans.”
Seven Steps to Staying On the Road to Safety
To help you keep your vehicle battery running in cold weather – and know what to do when it’s time to replace it-consider these seven tips for winter battery maintenance:
- Have the vehicle’s starting and charging system tested every three months or every oil change.
- Use a battery charger to maintain charge levels and keep the battery in good condition.
- Inspect the battery cables, posts and fasteners. Cable corrosion prevents power from flowing freely from the battery, reducing the power available to start the car.
- Clean the battery terminals with a wire brush or battery cleaner spray.
- When possible, keep the vehicle in a garage overnight or plugged in, especially in extremely harsh weather conditions. If garage storage is not possible, it may pay to invest in a battery heater.
- If the battery is not a sealed model, check the fluid levels, using distilled water to fill any cells that appear low.
- You can drop your old batteries to be recycled at any Interstate Batteries or Interstate All Battery Center retail store. While you’re there, you can get a free winter battery check.