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Winter is coming… check your car battery

It’s important to look after your car battery in colder weather. Use our guide to power you through winter.

Freeze! You aren't going anywhere with a dead battery.

Freeze! You aren't going anywhere with a dead battery.

You’ve scraped the frost off your windscreen but you aren’t going anywhere. You’re turning the key but your car is frozen. That’s frustrating. Most likely your battery is to blame since winter and your car battery aren’t the best of pals. The cold conditions can decrease your car’s battery life and increase your chances of battery failure.

Battery winter care

During winter, your car battery works a lot harder as you’re probably using your heater lights and wipers more often.

Make sure you’ve turned everything off. When it’s freezing, you naturally hurry inside to warm up but leaving your lights on or your dashcam plugged in will drain your battery and you won’t be going anywhere. So, it’s important to make sure all your interior lights and headlights are off, your accessories are unplugged and the electronics are off.

Apart from causing you to use your battery more, cold weather can take a toll on the battery, as it slows down the chemical reaction needed to make your battery work. This is another reason why you may battle to start your car. Much like us, batteries like to keep warm in winter, so if possible, park your car in a garage.

Common car battery problem

Whether it’s winter or summer, if a car part is exposed to the elements, corrosion and debris are likely to cause chaos. In a car battery, battery terminals are quite exposed, so a corroded battery terminal is a common problem.

The battery terminal connects the battery to the car’s electrical system. Corrosion and debris can hinder the battery terminal’s ability to conduct power. In extreme cases, the flow of power is completely blocked. If your car is struggling to start, this could be the first warning sign. You don’t want to be caught out in the freezing cold so it’s always a good idea to get your battery’s health assessed as part of your winter car check.

Choosing a new car battery

If the time has come to replace the battery in your car, there are a few things to keep in mind. All car batteries have a specific three-digit code. This doesn’t mean that there’s only one battery with a particular code that your car can use. However, it’s best practice to replace it with the same battery.

It’s also important to consider the type of battery your car uses. You’ll need to replace it with the same battery, as they have different designs and functions. If the wrong type of battery is used, you could potentially lose your warranty and risk the battery exploding or leaking battery acid. Some of the common battery types include:

  • Lead-acid battery (also known as a wet battery)
  • Enhanced flooded battery (EFB)
  • Absorbent glass mat battery (AGM)

Lead-acid batteries and wet batteries are the most common type of car battery. EFB and AGM batteries are new types of batteries designed for new-generation cars that have the automatic start-stop feature.

It’s also worth checking the Amp Hours (Ah) and Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) ratings to make sure the battery will power your car. Amp Hours are a measure of how long the battery will last if it is not charged. Cold Cranking Amps are a measure of a battery’s ability to turn on the engine on those cold mornings.

Still have questions? Speak to one of our friendly, expert service advisors and book a winter health check at your local Service department today.

About the Author

Jody Davison