Make Sure Your Battery Doesn't Leave You Out in the Cold - Tommy's Automotive

Make Sure Your Battery Doesn’t Leave You Out in the Cold

dead car batteryIt can be one of the most miserable experiences in a person’s life . . . dealing with a dead battery on the side of the road in frigid temperatures. As cold temperatures set in, it is crucial to inspect your battery before you end up in that situation. If you have a dead battery, your vehicle will not start. This can happen because of cold weather or a battery that is worn out. Because a battery is such a simple part of your car, it is easy to forget this vital inspection when cold weather sets in.

Increasing the Life of Your Battery

Once you purchase a new car battery, you should have between 7 to 10 years of life in it. This depends on how many times the battery is used and what kind of conditions you use it in. Starting a vehicle in temperatures below freezing will shorten your battery life considerably. There are some ways to lengthen your battery life, though.

  • Turn off accessories when not in use, this includes your radio, headlights, overhead lights, etc.
  • Keep your vehicle warm by parking in the garage.
  • Purchase heating pads that are made specifically for your battery to keep it from succumbing to the frigid temps.
  • Apply anti-corrosion to the battery terminals to prevent anything that may prohibit conductivity between the battery and the battery cables.
  • Test your battery at any local automotive shop if you have concerns that your vehicle is not turning over (starting) as smoothly as it should be.
  • Make sure your car has a properly functioning alternator and voltage regulator. This will help keep your battery charged to the optimal level and prevent an abnormally short service life.

Ways to Kill a Battery

Whether it is from nature or neglect, a battery’s life can be shortened in a few ways. A lot of batteries die due to weather. When the temps dip below freezing, your oil becomes thicker (think about water turning into honey at 32 degrees). This slows down the conductivity of your battery, making it hard or impossible for the vehicle to start. Here are some ways to kill your battery:

  • Listening to the radio without turning your vehicle on. Most people will turn their radio or overhead lights on when they are working in the garage or hanging out at a park because they don’t want to waste the gas (and with prices of fuel rising, who can blame them)- but doing this without starting the car will kill your battery, leaving you stranded. Here’s hoping your friends brought their own vehicles!
  • Don’t start it. No one wants to go out in cold weather, but leaving your vehicle sitting in the cold for days without starting it can actually kill your battery – for good. The longer you wait to start your vehicle the more likely it is that you will have battery issues.
  • Overheat your battery. If your car does not want to start and you continue to crank on the starter, it will eventually overheat your battery. Doing this means you will need to replace the battery entirely.

Getting ahead of the problem is the best way to prevent being stranded on the side of the road, or being left at home without a running vehicle. Remember, that if you maintain your vehicle properly, your battery should last 7-10 years. If you aren’t sure how old the battery is, take it to an auto shop to have them test it. Depending on how much you spend, your battery will usually come with a 48-84 month warranty. Be sure to ask about this the next time you purchase a battery.

Just in case you have a battery problem, it’s always good to remember how to jump a car.

Have questions about your battery? Give us a call (610) 696-2633.