Is your battery ready for winter?

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Is your car ready for our cold Colorado weather starts?  High fluctuations in temperature take a toll on batteries. We have had a lot of temperature changes this summer, and we are facing huge swings in the upcoming months.
It is not only inconvenient (and sometimes frightening) to be stranded in a dark parking lot, on the side of the road, at even at home in your garage or driveway when you need to get somewhere.
Batteries generally last 4-6 years, so a good rule of thumb is to have your battery tested after 3-5 years. Often there are no warning signs that your battery is dying. However, if you have to jump start your car for any reason or if you notice that your car is sounding different when you start it (slow to turn over or start), then it is time to get your battery tested.
Does your battery terminal need cleaning?

Batteries require maintenance to continue to operate properly. The corrosion that builds up should periodically be cleaned off battery posts and cables to maintain amperage level and a good electrical ground.

  • ECU: Electronic Control Unit…the “brains” of your car.
  • Lights… “all the better to see you with, my dear.”
  • Fan…keeping you cool when you’re hot and vice versa.
  • Windows and door locks…keeping you in and others out!
  • Stereo and auxiliary power ports…rocking to your favorite tunes!
  • Power and/or heated seats… “oh, that feels so good”!
  • Wipers/defoggers… “who’s steaming up the windows”?
Newer cars with sophisticated electronics and multiple electrical drive accessories have placed greater demands upon the car’s battery and charging system. Below are a few of the electrical systems that place multiple demands on your battery:
You can see that starting your car is only one important function your battery serves. Let’s say you live somewhere with hot summers and cold winters…sound familiar?
Both temperature 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 evaporation. 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 prepared for cold fall and winter mornings! If your battery is between 3-5 years old (or older), or if you are noticing a pattern of slow engine cranking, stop by and visit your favorite honest accurate auto technician and have your battery and charging system tested…it’s one quick pass or fail test that just might keep you off the side of the road someday.

 

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