We’re still in winter, officially, and that means it’s going to be cold. And batteries do not like the cold. It makes them inefficient and less effective at holding their charge.
So what can you do to make sure your battery doesn’t let you down when you most need it? Check out our top tips for battery care.
🚗 🚗 🚗 🚗 🚗 🚗
If the things that use the battery start to show signs of slowing down, your battery is starting to die. Be aware of the speed your windows go up and down, how bright your lights are, if your keyless entry system is working effectively; that sort of thing. If they’re not up to scratch you could be heading for a battery breakdown.
Prevention is better than the cure
Small acts like turning off the heat or AC, the radio, and other things that require power on ignition or use power while your car is not in use could help prolong the life of your battery, especially on cold days. You’ve most likely heard that heartbreaking ‘click’ as you turn the key and nothing happens; by turning off some stuff before you turn off your engine you could have just enough juice to get started again and then charge your engine on the run to work.
If you’re likely to leave your car sitting for a few weeks or months, it’s worth getting a portable charger and giving the battery a boost before you even try to start it. Then take it for a good run to give the alternator a chance to do it’s job. If you spot the little red triangle on the dash however, you might want to to head to the nearest garage and have a battery health test.
Check your connections
It’s a good idea, every now and then, to make sure the connections to your battery are sound and in place, not wiggling about. Sometimes a non-start could simply be a loose connection so you might as well try to combat that by checking them every now and then. If you’ve been on a bumpy drive (not necessarily off-roading, just a dodgy pot-holey road) check your connections, they can become loose.
Not sure how? Pop into any Oak Road branch, we’ll show you. Oh, and we sell batteries if yours does decide to pack up…
Keep it clean
Every now and then take a wire brush to the terminals and give them a bit of a scrub. You’ll notice a build up of rust and other debris and it’s best to get rid of this regularly to keep your connections nice and clean and, well, working.
It’s time to retire
Batteries have a life. You know, like the one’s in your torch or your watch, or your Wii or whatever – they won’t last forever so it’s inevitable that you’ll have to change it. But if you keep an eye out for the signs we’ve mentioned you shouldn’t get caught unawares. You just know it will be when you’re running late, really have to get somewhere; that’s when your battery will up and die on you.
Stop-start might make you stop
The stop-start fuel saving feature on a car means a much greater strain on the battery and as such may require a different type of battery that can deal with this. Be sure you mention this when buying a new battery (oh, and remember if you’re changing the battery yourself, quite simple to do, you must dispose of your old battery responsibly. Don’t chuck it out with your chicken).
The newer the car the more the strain on the battery with all of the sophisticated on-board computers. If you have a newer car but are likely not to use it that much it will still be drawing power for certain things, chipping away at your battery life. Try to be in the habit of taking it out every couple of weeks; even a short run around the block or to the nearest shop will give it a chance to recharge.
Keep your battery happy and you’ll extend it’s life. And keep an eye out for the signs that it’s not functioning as it once did, and you won’t get caught out with that soul destroying ‘click’ on a cold Monday morning 🚗