How To Prepare Your Car Battery For Winter

The cold weather is well and truly upon us and that means making sure your car battery is ready for winter. Besides a punctured tyre at the most inopportune time, a dead battery can be a huge inconvenience.

Even if your car battery was working perfectly in summer, a sudden drop in temperature can greatly harm its performance. To help keep you going in the dead of winter, we’ve compiled some essential battery maintenance tips.

How Can I Tell If My Car Battery Is Faulty?

One of the first signs that your battery might be problematic is a whining noise when attempting to start the car. However, there are several other indicators you should look out for. This includes the ignition lights failing to illuminate on the dashboard and your car takes longer to start up.

Like all car parts that wear out over time, batteries are the same. The power drains gradually through repeated discharging cycles during starts, extreme temperatures and other factors. Keep a close eye on old batteries as their lifespan is typically only about five years. If you suspect your battery is beyond its prime, visit your nearest Elite Garages for a free battery check.

Care Tips For Your Car Battery

It’s important to take special care in winter as flat batteries are the number one cause of breakdown call-outs. The fact that the automotive industry is pressured to manufacture vehicles with improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions doesn’t help. As a result, many new cars also have more features that put additional strain on the battery.

Remember, your car is full of electronic equipment, from mobile phone chargers to lights, heaters, power steering, AC and powered windows. The only solution is to choose a battery that can adequately withstand the cycle of frequent power drains followed by short recuperation periods. However, regardless of the battery you buy, it’s important to maintain it properly.

Car Battery Maintenance Guideline

Winter usually exposes most problems with your car battery so it’s best to prepare ahead of time. These tips will give you a good baseline of what to do.

  • Switch off all electrical appliances in your car before you turn it off. This includes the interior lights and removing mobile phone chargers
  • Check your battery at least every three months to make sure it is holding power correctly
  • Make sure it can withstand cold and warmer temperatures
  • Start your car and let it run for at least 15 minutes or take it for a drive for a short 30-minute drive to recharge it
  • Make sure to also check your alternator before winter hits as it can quickly cause issues
  • Use a smart or trickle charger to keep the battery power levels maintained when you are not using the car

Recommended: ‘Testing And Maintenance Tips For Car Batteries

Identifying Alternator Issues

The alternator in your car acts as the electrical generator and will charge the car battery whilst the engine is running. If your battery is new and it can hold its charge properly, chances are that the alternator might be the likely cause. At this point, not even a jump-start can bring it back to life as the alternator will prevent the battery from restarting. Another sign of alternator issues is your vehicle’s lights flickering on and off.

Check For Starter Problems

As the name suggests, the starter is the component that starts your engine. If you have a faulty starter, jump-starting your car also won’t work. A good way to see whether it’s your car battery or the starter is when the lights and in-car electrics are working but you struggle to start the car. If you think your battery might be on its last legs, it’s best to have a professional inspect it.

Can Regular Car Services Help?

Taking your car for regular servicing will help minimise the risk of battery failure as technicians can identify potential problems during routine checks. At Elite Garages we will check the general condition of your battery, look for signs of corrosion while checking the voltage output and charging rates.

The voltage for a new car battery should be around 12.72V but when it’s under 12.4V, it should be replaced. During a routine check, technicians will typically check the cold start current rate. When it’s less than 75%, chances are some deterioration may be present which can prompt a replacement.

How To Choose The Right Car Battery

According to statistics from across Europe, car battery issues represent a large percentage of inconvenience and cost for vehicle owners. If you buy the right battery first time, you greatly minimise the risk of any major issues as it all comes down to choosing the most appropriate replacement.

You need to buy a car battery that conforms to the requirements of the car manufacturer and your driving style. Car batteries might be better and stronger today than a few years ago but they still run out of power and you need the best one for the job. Exide has an easy-to-use online battery finder tool that will help you choose the right battery for your car.

Here are the different types of batteries.

Why Choose Elite Garages For Your Car Battery?

Elite Garages is one of the UK’s leading fast-fit retailers and forecourt operators. All of our service centres have friendly, professional and expertly-trained technicians who will carry out extensive battery checks using the latest testing equipment.

In addition to testing, we also offer advice on any parts that may need replacing or if anything else could be problematic. We have a wide variety of car batteries suitable for most makes and models at great prices.

At Elite, you can also reserve your tyres online, book your MOT on our website and request Free vehicle safety checks. If you’re concerned about your car or car battery in any way, contact your nearest Elite branch.