In frigid temperatures, your safety and the safety of your family could depend on your car’s battery. Maintaining your battery takes just a few minutes once a year, but can provide you with peace of mind all year long, so follow these tips to ensure your battery’s health.
First, what kind of battery do you have? The “maintenance-free” kind actually requires that you clean the terminals and cables and make sure they are free of corrosion and tightly connected. It takes less than a minute to clean them off.
“Low-maintenance” batteries require the same cleaning, plus you need to check the water level by removing the filter caps and topping off with distilled water every month. Always clean and dry off anything that spills.
Cold weather drains a battery’s power faster. It’s a fact. What that means is that your battery will have less of a charge and will need to work harder in the cold to start your engine. Help your vehicle by keeping it in a garage, if possible.
Before you start your car, make sure the lights, heaters and defrosters are turned off to alleviate strain on the battery upon startup.
If your car is off but in auxiliary mode, remember that running the radio, defroster or lights will drain your battery faster than usual. If you hear your battery turning over slowly, that’s a warning sign that it’s becoming weak. Check the charge as soon as possible.
Carry jumper cables in your car and keep the instructions with them in case anyone who is driving your vehicle has never used them. If you have young drivers, teach them how to use jumper cables.
Finally, if you do need to buy a battery, don’t go cheap. Do a little research to make sure you purchase a battery that has a high rating.
Information from: Ohio Insurance Institute