How to Prevent a Dead Car Battery This Winter

Winter is right around the corner, which means the cold weather can take a toll on your car battery. In fact, according to Boyce Auto Repair, cold weather can thicken your engine’s oil, which makes it move at a much slower pace and can ultimately lead to a dead car battery

Boyce Auto Repair explained further, “This increases the amount of power needed by your battery to kickstart important processes. If the amount of charge in your battery is already reduced by the cold weather, you may find yourself with a vehicle that’s unable to start.” Fortunately, these tips can help prevent a dead car battery this winter: 

If you can, don’t take short trips

A car being driven in winter, driving your car longer distances can help prevent a dead car battery in winter
Winter Driving | Jan Kronies via Unsplash

We understand you may need to run a quick errand, but short trips won’t allow your car battery to recharge the way it needs to. Starting your vehicle requires a lot of energy, so these shorter commutes can end up discharging your battery. 

Instead, Firestone Complete Auto Care recommends driving your car regularly or, at the very least, taking it on the occasional long drive. Why? As Firestone explains, “With an already slow recharge rate due to the cold, it’s essential that your alternator has enough time to fully recharge your battery while you drive. Therefore, it helps to drive your car regularly during winter months and for longer distances.”

Turn off and unplug extra accessories

It’s no surprise that your car may have a hard time starting when it’s cold outside. Another useful tip to avoid a dead car battery is to turn off any unnecessary accessories, like your car radio, to help reduce the load on your battery. You may also want to unplug any phone chargers. 

Park your car in the garage

Now, this is an easy one. That is, of course, if you have a garage. Because, as you likely guessed it, parking your vehicle inside your garage can shield the battery from the cold weather. When you do this, the battery won’t be as cold and will lose less capacity. 

And if you can’t park your car inside the garage? “Finally, try to park in a covered garage or downwind so that the battery isn’t exposed to the elements,” suggests Boyce Auto Repair.

Make sure the battery terminals are clean

Battery corrosion can have a serious effect on overall performance. In fact, corrosion can cause electrical resistance between the connections and can result in a dead car battery. You don’t want to make your battery work any harder than it has to in the winter. This might result in a battery that won’t work at all. 

Perform regular battery tests

A car battery can last anywhere between 2 and 5 years. Of course, time may vary depending on the climate and how often you drive. Right before winter, you can test your battery to see if it’s strong enough to handle the winter. If it’s not, you may need to replace it, especially if you’re hoping to avoid a dead car battery this winter. 

Pro tip: you can always get a charge test at a local Firestone Complete Auto Care if you cannot do it yourself. 

It may be time to splurge on a better battery

If you know you will experience a harsh winter, investing in a better car battery may be best. You will want one that can keep up with the change of season and your busy lifestyle. 

For example, batteries with high cold cranking amps, CCA, will help supply more power to your car in extreme cold. Plus, they can last up to twice as long as ordinary batteries.

Prevent your car battery from dying this winter

The tips above can help you avoid a dead battery, but the most important thing you can do is bring your vehicle in for regular maintenance. Certified technicians can inspect your battery and let you know if there are any issues. They can also test the battery and provide you with an estimated lifespan.

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