When you are ready to start your car in the cold weather, the last thing you want to hear is your engine “chug, chug” trying in vain to start! Batteries generally last 4-6 years, so a good rule of thumb is to have your battery tested after 3-4 years, since there are few warning signs of a dying battery. However, please note that if you have to jump start your car for any reason or if you notice that your car starts sounding different when you start it (slowed to turn over or start), then it is time to have your battery tested to prevent being stranded on the side of the road.
With newer cars, the demands placed upon your car battery have increased dramatically. Here are a few other electrical systems placing multiple demands on your battery:
· ECU: Electronic Control Unit…the “brains” of your car.
· Lights… “all the better to see you with, my dear.”
· Fan…keeping your cool when you’re hot and vise versa.
· Windows and door locks…keeping you in and others out!
· Stereo and auxiliary power ports…I’m so excited!
· Power/heated seats…oh, that feels so good!
· Wipers/defoggers…who’s steaming up the windows?
I think you get the picture…today’s batteries are working harder than ever! Starting your car is just one important function it serves. Let’s say you live somewhere with hot summers and cold winters…sound familiar? Both extremes, hot and cold, are battery killers. Battery capacity falls by about 1% per degree below 68 degree F. However, high temperatures are not ideal for batteries either, as this accelerates aging, self-discharge and electrolyte usage. Fully discharged batteries (“dead” battery) lose about 80% of their life expectancy when compared to a battery that never went “dead”.
So what should you do? Be proactive! If your battery is between 3-5 years old (or older) or if you are noticing a pattern of slow engine cranking, stop by your preferred Honest Accurate Auto Shop and have your battery tested…it’s one quick pass or fail test that just might keep you off the side of the road someday.