How to prevent a dead car battery this winter

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Winter is right around the corner, which means cold weather can drain your car battery. In fact, according to Boyce Auto Repair, cold weather can thicken the oil in your engine, causing it to run very slow and can ultimately lead to a dead car battery.

Boyce Auto Repair further explained, “This increases the amount of power your battery needs to start important processes. If your battery charge is already reduced by the cold weather, you could end up with an unstartable vehicle. Fortunately, these tips can help prevent a dead car battery this winter:

If you can, don’t take short trips

Driving in winter | Jan Kronies on Unsplash

We understand that you may need to do a quick errand, but short trips won’t allow your car battery to charge as it should. Starting your vehicle requires a lot of energy, so these shorter trips can end up draining your battery.

Instead, Firestone Complete Auto Care recommends driving your car regularly or, at the very least, taking it on occasional long trips. Why? As Firestone explains, “With an already slow recharge rate due to cold weather, it’s critical that your alternator has enough time to fully charge your battery while you’re driving.” Therefore, it is useful to drive your car regularly during the winter months and for longer distances.

Switch off and unplug additional accessories

It’s no surprise that your car has trouble starting when it’s cold outside. Another helpful tip to avoid a dead car battery is to turn off any unnecessary accessories, like your car stereo, to help reduce the drain on your battery. You can also unplug phone chargers.

Park your car in the garage

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Now it’s easy. That is, of course, if you have a garage. Because, as you have probably guessed, parking your vehicle on the inside your garage can protect the battery from the cold. When you do this, the battery won’t run as cold and lose less capacity.

What if you can’t park your car inside the garage? “Finally, try to park in a covered or downwind garage so the battery isn’t exposed to the elements,” suggests Boyce Auto Repair.

Make sure the battery terminals are clean

Battery corrosion can have a serious effect on overall performance. In fact, corrosion can cause electrical resistance between connections and can lead to a dead car battery. You don’t want to make your battery work harder than it needs to in the winter. This could result in a battery that will not work at all.

Perform regular battery tests

A car battery can last between 2 and 5 years. Of course, the weather can vary depending on the climate and how often you drive. Just before winter, you can test your battery to see if it is strong enough to withstand winter. If not, you may need to replace it, especially if you hope to avoid a dead car battery this winter.

Pro Tip: You can always get a load test at a local Firestone Complete Auto Care center if you can’t do it yourself.

It might be time to splurge on a better battery

If you know you’re going to experience a harsh winter, it may be worth investing in a better car battery. You’ll want one that can keep up with the changing seasons and your busy lifestyle.

For example, batteries with high cold cranking amps, CCA, will help deliver more power to your car in extremely cold weather. Plus, they can last up to twice as long as regular batteries.

Prevent your car battery from dying this winter

The tips above can help you avoid a dead battery, but the most important thing you can do is bring your vehicle in for regular maintenance. Certified technicians can inspect your battery and notify you if there is a problem. They can also test the battery and give you an estimate of its lifespan.

RELATED: 4 types of car batteries you should know

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