How does your car battery survive the winter?
If your car battery is flat or defective, your trip will end even before it starts. Rather not end up stranded? Then follow these useful tips. That way, even the coldest winter will not hold you back.
1. Protected from the cold
The low winter temperatures mean that the capacity and operation of a car battery are impaired. Therefore, park your car in a garage or in a sheltered place. Covering your car with a thermal blanket may also help.
2. Switch off everything using power when you start up
In very cold weather, a car battery needs its full capacity in order to start the engine. Therefore, first switch off everything that uses power. These are things like ventilation, air conditioning, the radio and window heating. In more modern cars, this is often done automatically and you do have to worry about it.
TIP: Switching on the headlights, even just briefly, before you start the engine means that a chemical reaction occurs and the battery 'warms up'.
3. Short start attempts
Does the engine not start at the first attempt? If so, do not try for too long, but instead make a series of short start attempts with breaks in between. If not, you will drain the battery too quickly and you will not be able to start at all. Also remember to depress the clutch. That makes the engine turn easier as it starts up.
4. Jumper cables to the rescue
Your battery is flat anyway? With a helpful neighbour or friend with a working car battery, you can still get on your way without too much trouble provided if you have a set of jumper cables. Please make that the polarities (+ and -) are correctly connected in order to avoid a short. Once started, make sure you drive for at least 20 minutes to allow the battery to recharge sufficiently. Please note: Jumper cables are not delivered as standard with a new car. So buying some might be a very good idea.
5. No short trips in the winter
Short trips put considerably more load on the car battery. Because you have to restart more often and the trips are short, the battery does not have the opportunity to recharge adequately. In the winter, leave your car at home and turn any errands in the neighbourhood into a healthy walk or bike ride.
6. Use a trickle charger for the car battery
Perhaps it seems strange, but a car that is left unused for a period of time can still end up with a drained battery. That will, of course, also leave you stranded. The solution is simple: will you be leaving your car parked for a long time? Then connect the battery to a trickle charger. Such a device makes sure that the battery is regularly charged and remains in top condition.
7. Replace in time
A car battery does not last forever and loses its capacity gradually. That is especially difficult in cold weather because your battery’s full capacity is then needed to start the cold engine. A car battery stays in top condition for about 4 to 5 years. After that, it's time for renewal.
There are often more accidents on slippery roads because drivers adjust their driving style insufficiently. Have you suffered minor or major damage? Visit a SchadeNet branch in your neighbourhood.