Car batteries, Cold Weather and Winter Tips and Advice

Battery winter care is a subject many of us don’t give a second thought – until the worst happens and we find ourselves scrabbling around looking for a set of jump leads and someone to give our flat battery a much needed boost, a battery charger, or worst case scenario when we must call for assistance.

Extreme winter temperatures can reduce the life of your car’s battery – and whilst we cannot change cold winter temperatures – we can be prepared for them, and therefore minimise the risk of winter conditions impacting on our motoring.

Cold weather inhibits the chemical reaction necessary to make a battery work, which is often the reason you may have trouble starting your car on a cold winter morning! Cold weather together with a lack of car usage, especially over the festive period, every year leads to high numbers of assistance call outs.

Keeping your vehicle in a garage when not in use will help to protect the battery from low winter temperatures. A handy piece of kit you should consider investing in is a car battery booster – a rechargeable device that you simply bring out and clip onto your flat battery to give an instant boost – ideal when you cannot locate your jump leads, or when you don’t have the time to wait for a conventional car battery charger to work its magic!

During the winter months we generally use more electric power, the heaters, headlights, water and windscreen wipers, which all add more strain on the battery.

Before winter sets in, it is always a good idea to get your battery and electrical system thoroughly checked. If there are signs of a failing battery it is advisable to replace it immediately to help prevent being caught out in the cold weather.

If you are having problems starting your car, here are a few tips that might help you get on the move again.

·        Press down the clutch pedal to reduce the load on the battery when starting the car

·        Keep your fuel tank topped up

·        Give a few moments between repeated attempts to start the engine as this gives the battery time to recover

·        Keep your battery warm – there are today car battery blankets available

·        Switch off all electrical items before starting the car

Switch of all electronic devices in your car before switching off the ignition as they could drain your battery.

During the cold winter months, the last thing you need is a breakdown due to car battery problems. Your car battery’s ability to charge is also reduced in the cold weather, something to think about when choosing a new car battery. The cold cranking amps (CCA) stated on your car battery refer to how well the battery can cope with the cold weather. The higher the CCA the better the battery will perform in cold weather conditions.

While it is fact that cold weather can deaden a car’s battery, hot temperatures are if anything even worse for your battery, because extreme heat can lead to oxidisation in the battery which can dramatically reduce its life expectancy – but that is the subject of a quite separate article.

The RAC car battery service offers quality car batteries fitted by trusted technicians on the day you order (if ordered by 1pm). Terms and conditions apply

Whichever battery you have, make sure you use the right charger. Choose the correct charger for your battery by clicking on the link, or if you would prefer to speak with one of our advisors regarding the appropriate battery or charger for your vehicle, then give us a call on 0800 8620676. We are here to help.

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