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The Importance of a Healthy Car/Truck Battery in the Winter

Posted at Fri, Feb 19, 2021 4:30 PM

Wintertime is already very tough on your vehicle. Freezing temperatures lower your air pressure, freezing temperatures can crack your windshield, and ice melt leaves a nasty residue all over your car. While there are osme things that you can’t control when it comes to keeping your vehicle operational, monitoring your battery health is an easy step that you can take to ensure greater longevity and less long-term problems for your car.

What does a car battery do?

Car batteries are rechargeable units that help power the car. Specifically, it sends a charge to the starting motor, which kickstarts the chemical reaction in the combustion engine that makes the car “go.” The battery also supplies power to the car’s electrical processes, like the radio, headlights, or other tech features.

This means that the battery is vital to your car’s operation. If you have a dead battery, you will not be able to start your car at all. Once your car is in motion, the alternator will recharge it, but a dead battery requires a jump to get working.

What does cold weather do to car batteries?

Your battery may be “fine” one day, but empty the next, especially as the weather gets colder. This is because of the internal components of the battery. Car batteries contain lead and deionized water to store energy. Cold temperatures can freeze the water inside, causing the battery to stop outputting the electricity that we need.

The truth is that car batteries have issues in both extreme heat and cold. However, cold can also increase the amount of electricity that your car needs to start to levels that are not required in warmer weather. This makes cold even more of a problem than it is already.

How to check your car battery

Although many people just forget about their car battery after it’s under the hood, you can check on it to monitor its capabilities. Older batteries will naturally run into more issues than newer batteries, so update your car battery when you can. Any battery over three years old is considered at risk for issues, and requires yearly inspection to make sure it will still run. Here are some of the most common signs that your battery has started going bad.

  • Sluggish engine turnover
  • Check engine light
  • Rotten egg smell
  • Swollen battery case
  • Low battery fluid level (checked by removing the red and black caps on your battery if they are unsealed)

Any of these symptoms can tip you off that something is not quite right with your battery. If you notice any of these signs, take your vehicle in for inspection! There is nothing worse than being stranded on a cold night because your car won’t start. The team down at Tim’s Truck Capital and Auto Sales is more than happy to set you up with an appointment to check your battery life. While you’re there, take advantage of our other inspection services to keep your car in top shape for any season!

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