There are several parts to your vehicle including the car battery that are important to keep maintained, especially before the winter months, you need to make sure to maintain your car throughout the year and be prepared for the cold weather ahead of time.
On top of other regular car maintenance, a car battery can cost up to 200 dollars to replace and should not be forgotten about. You can take steps to extend the life of the battery so that you are not left stranded on the side of the road by noticing warning signs telling you it may be close to the end of its life.
Is It Time to Check Your Battery?
In some cases, a car battery may simply fail, especially in cold weather. However, most of the time, your car will give you warning signs. If these signs begin to appear, it is important to check your battery and do what you can to prevent it from completely dying and costing you time and money. The first step is to figure out how old your car battery is, particularly if you are driving an older car. You can do this by looking at the actual battery for the manufacturer’s date. Once the battery is nearing 4 to 5 years of age, on average, it may be close to dying.
Other ways to know if it is time to check your battery are by noticing signs the vehicle may present to you, for instance, if the charge of the battery runs down frequently. In the winter months, what is more likely to happen is your car being slow to start. If your car has gotten to a point that it won’t start at all and the engine makes a clicking sound, this means you have to jump start it with jumper cables. This is the clearest sign the battery is close to the end of its life and jump starting it may not even work. This means it is completely dead and time for a new one. Another indicator comes from the automobile electrical system, including the vehicle’s headlights being dim so pay attention to how strong the headlights show because it may be time for a car battery service.
What to Check on Your Car Battery
Extremely cold weather can reduce your battery’s life by up to 50 percent. When the temperature outside starts to freeze, the battery begins to lose its power and starting it may take twice as much power. If you have come to the conclusion that the car battery is old, or starting to fail, there are a few things you can check to see how bad it may have become. The most important parts to check on the battery are the cables, terminals, posts, and fasteners.
Your battery also contains fluid that should be at an optimal level. This can be checked by looking through the refill hole. Any cables should not be cracked or broken and everything should be connected tightly. While you can check all of this on your own, it is best to have professional equipment to do so and a qualified mechanic is your best option.
Increase Your Battery’s Life
A vehicle typically has a 12-volt battery, which is used to turn the engine until the car starts. Once it is running, the battery is important because the engine’s alternator generates electricity to recharge the battery for every time you start it up. One way to make sure the battery lives longer is to shorten the amount of times you start your car by taking less trips. In winter, this can be taxing on your car’s battery. However, you want to make sure it is getting charged up every few days so it doesn’t freeze. Keeping a portable charger around can be useful for this, especially if you have a car that you store and do not drive in the winter. If the battery is fully charged, it will not freeze until it reaches a much lower temperature, which can help.
All car batteries work best if they are clean, but over time, the terminals can get a white chalky-looking corrosion buildup, which begins to block the electrical current. You can slow this down by keeping the terminals clean yourself by scraping away the buildup with a wire brush and coating it with dielectric grease before it gets worse.
There is another option to extend the battery life and this is installing an insulation blanket such as a plastic sheet. It may be best to have a professional mechanic do this for you. Also, if you come to a point that you need to jump start the battery, make sure the engine is as warm as possible by letting it sit in the sun beforehand.
The winter months are upon us, if you are looking for a professional for an auto battery service, come to any AAMCO Denver or AAMCO Colorado Springs locations to have an expert mechanic inspect it today! Our Auto Battery Experts will do a Free Complete 36-point ProtectCheck Inspection for your battery maintenance needs, so Schedule an Appointment now before the temperatures begin to drop!