Winter freezes the bones and immobilises the body.
Likewise, it can be a killjoy for your car battery, leaving you stranded or running late for work.
When the terminals are connected, an electrical current is generated by chemical reactions in the battery.
Low temperatures slow down chemical reactions, resulting in an insufficient supply of electric current which among other potential causes, could be the reason your battery acts up in cold weather conditions.
Batteries are more prone to failure in low temperatures and while South African winters are mild in comparison, sub-zero temperatures are not uncommon. There’s not much you can do about the weather, but there’s lots you can do to winter-proof your battery.
Here are 5 tips to keep it charged up all winter long.
1. Know where you stand
Depending on your driving habits, car batteries generally need replacing every three to five years. Battery specialists recommend getting your battery checked twice a year.
2. Stay warm and keep moving
Park your car in a sheltered area such as a garage or car park. A fully charged battery minimises starting problems, so go for regular drives to allow the battery to recharge itself.
3. Have patience
Don’t expect magic on the first turn. If your car won’t start after 2-3 seconds, give it a short rest before trying again.
Make sure there is sufficient starting power for your engine by keeping all electronics, such as your radio, lights and air conditioning off until after you have started your car.
4. Clean up unwanted resistance
Increased electrical resistance causes your battery to work much harder. Any additional grime or corrosion on your battery terminals only adds to this resistance.
Always check for corrosion – a white, ashy substance on the terminals – as it can lead to a poor connection and battery failure.
5. Be ever-ready
Engine oil tends to thicken and flow slower in winter. Enhance the overall working condition of your car with an oil change. Always keep a set of jumper cables close by and get your battery checked regularly.
Don’t let an aging battery catch you by surprise. With a little bit of attention, your battery will go the extra mile and get you where you need to go.
Information supplied by Battery Centre