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As winter temperatures get increasingly colder, keep in mind that your car’s battery feels the cold too, and a cold winter morning is when you’re most likely to be stranded with a faulty battery.

When the mercury drops, your car battery’s ability to provide sufficient power to start and run the engine is reduced. Due to the cooling of engine lubricants, more power is required to start your vehicle than in normal weather conditions, and as such, failure is more likely to result.

The age of the battery and the drop in the temperature will also influence the recharging of the battery. The increased drain from the battery requires a longer engine running time to replace the charge that was used during the heavier start. If your trip is too short, the charge cycle will be insufficient, and your battery’s capacity will gradually decline until it can no longer perform as intended.

It’s a known fact that the number of battery replacements increase in winter as aging and weaker units succumb to the increased loads they are subjected to. Lockdown regulations have also seen many South Africans leave their cars unused for extended periods or only used for short trips with quick starts and stops that prevent the battery from fully recharging. These are some of the primary causes of battery failure.

There are easy ways of reducing damage and keeping your battery running smoothly for as long as possible. Here are a few tips to getting the most out of your battery:

  1. Keep your car sheltered
    Ambient temperatures can cause your battery to fail if they drop too low. Where possible, park your car indoors, or under a car cover. If you must park outside, do so in a sheltered area.
  1. Maintenance
    Modern-day batteries do need a minimum amount of maintenance to keep running efficiently. It’s important to keep the top of the battery and the area around the terminals clean and dry. Make sure the battery terminals are securely connected to the terminal posts and check for any leaks.

    1. Test Your Battery
      It is recommended to get your battery tested by a professional at least twice a year – when it has not been in use for extended periods and before long-distance trips. You can have your battery tested at one of our approved battery specialists.

    If you are unsure of how to perform the basic maintenance required, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. Disconnecting a battery could affect different vehicle management systems and computers which could require in-dealership reprogramming of memories used to adapt to various engine running conditions, air-conditioning controls, security systems, key-locks etc.

    As the dependence on electronic systems increases, it’s vital to know when your battery needs replacing. Here are some signs that your battery could be nearing the end of its life:

    • You hear grinding or a clicking sound when you turn the ignition.
    • The engine does not swing at all when you turn the ignition.
    • Your vehicle cranks slowly when attempting to start.
    • Your headlights dim when idling but brighten when you rev your engine.

    Also bear in mind factors such as your driving style and routine, mileage, the age of your car, and adverse weather conditions as these will all have an impact on the lifespan of your battery. Be sure to keep up with your maintenance, and to always purchase top quality batteries from reputable sources.

    For peace of mind, head to your closest Willard Batteries retailer today for a vital check-up. You won’t be sorry.