Cold Weather Wreaks Havoc on Car Batteries

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Though February weather is unpredictable, it is a guarantee that we will get some mornings with frigid temperatures. When you wake up to those mornings, one of the biggest concerns is your car battery.

At a comparatively mild 32 degrees, a car’s battery is 35 percent weaker than at warmer temperatures. At zero degrees, a car’s battery loses approximately 60 percent of its strength. As the air outside cools, the oil in the car thickens making it harder to turn the engine over.

We offer free battery checks at our AAA Car Care Centers. Our experienced technicians can detect if there is any corrosion and inspect battery cables, posts and fasteners. We’ll test the battery to determine whether it needs to be replaced and get you back on the road safely.

If the starter motor cranks the engine slowly or the battery/charging warning light is illuminated, there could be a battery problem. Another weak battery indicator on older vehicles is dim incandescent headlights, particularly at idle. However, not every failing battery reveals itself through obvious symptoms.

AAA Carolinas recommends the following tips to motorists for battery maintenance:

Get it checked. Have the battery and electrical system inspected by a trusted mechanic prior to extreme temperatures. This will prevent you from any surprises before you start your day. For a link to AAA Car Care Centers click here.

Get it tested. Every six months is a good guideline for how often you should have your battery tested, especially if it’s more than a few years old. This ensures that its available starting power stays at appropriate levels.

Switch it off. Not the battery, of course, but the lights, heater and wipers. If you switch your engine off but leave one of these items on, there will be an unnecessary drain on your battery.

Practice moderation. Love your heated seats and heated screens? Enjoy them, but not for longer than you have to. They use a lot of battery power. Also, keep in mind that phone chargers and other electronic devices may drain the battery if left connected.

Park in the garage. If you have the option, use it.

AAA also offers mobile battery service for AAA Members to replace their battery, whether they’re on the side of the road or in their driveway.

Click here to watch AAA technician Jason Karp talk more about car battery care.

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