Whether you have a brand new vehicle or a used car, the battery is a critical component that will be affected by fluctuating temperatures. Winter is underway, and it is important to know how the cold weather may impact your vehicle’s battery life. Below is a rundown of what to look for to maintain safety on the road.
What Issues Can the Cold Weather Cause?
Car batteries consist of lead-acid, which will lose 20% of its normal capacity when frigid temperatures roll in. This leaves you with less power to get where you need to go. The cold also slows down the chemical reaction inside the battery, which makes your car ride sluggishly. You may even notice that your car seems to have less power at startup, which may require even more battery life than usual during the colder months. Batteries also contain water, which will freeze and expand, causing damage to critical areas.
Older batteries in used cars are at risk in winter. These aging cells are already working more slowly or at reduced capacity, and the cold only causes them to drain even more. Add in accessory usages such as headlights and windshield wipers needed for treacherous winter weather, and your battery will feel the pressure to keep up. It may not recharge as quickly as it is draining, which can leave you stranded.
How Can You Protect Your Battery?
Before the cold weather hits, have your battery inspected by a mechanic, especially if it is older than three years, or you have noticed your car is dragging. They will check all connections and power levels, and if the battery is compromised, you can have a new one installed before any major storms.
Keeping an extra charge is also helpful. The alternator is the auto part that helps maintain the power, but if you aren’t going to drive for a while or you only drive short distances, try purchasing a trickle charger. This device is easy to install and can keep your battery healthy for longer.
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