Just like grandpa’s knee, there’s every chance the workings of your car’s battery will protest the drop in ambient temperature associated with the onset of winter. While gramps might find solace in soup and a drop of Scotland’s finest liquid export, ensuring that your car operates efficiently through the coldest months of the year can be as easy as a few simple checks.
Unlike with your mobile phone, the available state of charge of your car’s battery isn’t indicated on any display screen. Just as it’s advisable to keep the serviceable components in your vehicle up to date, all approved battery fitment centres throughout the country are equipped to accurately inspect the condition of your car’s battery. That said, with cooler temperatures slowing down the chemical reaction within a battery cell, if there are any areas of weakness, it’s best to address these before they’re exacerbated by the chill of winter.
Ahead of any official inspection, it’s good practice to keep a keen eye on the surface area of your car’s battery. Check to see that all protective covers are in place and that all connections remain tight. The presence of any grime or, indeed, the onset of a white, crystal-like substance around the terminals will throttle the performance of the battery.
A path of least resistance is also pertinent when it comes to how efficiently a car’s battery can fire an engine to life. A timely oil change for maximum lubrication and regular inspection of the alternator each help to ease the load on a battery. Another important consideration when it comes to the workings of any motor vehicle’s drivetrain is a semi-regular, longer-than-usual drive with a view to all internal fluids achieving their optimal respective operating temperatures. This excursion also allows your car’s battery to be fully recharged, as opposed to having to work from a percentage state of charge after a short commute. On this note, it’s recommended that you don’t leave your vehicle parked for longer than three days without turning the ignition key.
While it stands to reason that the warmth of a secure garage is the first prize when it comes to preserving everything from your car’s exterior paintwork to the internal workings of the vehicle, where this isn’t an option, consider parking faced away from the prevailing winter wind direction. As it generally requires more battery performance to start a cold car engine, as tempting as it is, considering not activating comfort functions like climate control, heated seats, or a mobile phone charging facility for a few moments after start-up to allow for the moving parts under the bonnet to gain momentum.
Out of sight, out of mind, it’s easy to overlook the crucial role your car’s battery plays in our everyday lives. While dependent of several factors – including a good winter care routine it’s always better to have an up-to-date understanding of the condition of your car’s battery before that one fateful morning when it can no longer perform its duties.
Content Contributed by Willard Batteries www.willard.co.za