As we get closer to the winter months, there are a few things that we tend to notice. Some of these things are as simple and obvious as the temperature dropping on an almost daily basis, or even the leaves falling off of the trees. What may not be as obvious is the effects that weather tends to have on our cars. What many people don't seem to realize, until it is too late, is the simple fact that the weather does affect the performance of our vehicles.
In our car, nothing is affected quite so much by the weather as the battery. There are some long and drawn out complicated explanations, but they all boil down to the rather simple reason that batteries can freeze. Batteries are filled with fluid (usually water), which helps to hold the electrical charge that makes a battery so important. If some basic winter battery care is not taken, then you may find yourself stranded on the side of the road somewhere in need of a jump.
- Connections. You need to make sure that your battery connections are still good. Check the connections for any signs of corrosion as well as to make sure that they are not loose. If there are loose connections then there is not going to be a proper flow of electrical power. You should check these connections every time that you open the engine compartment.
- Clean and dry. If your battery itself is not clean and dry, then you are looking at loosing some of your battery's energy. While you are checking the connections, take a little bit of time to make sure that the battery itself is actually clean and dry. If it is not, then go ahead and clean it.
- Fluid level. Unless your battery is one of those sealed types, then you are going to need to check the fluid level. If the battery fluid level is too low or even dry, then you need to fill it. When you fill the fluid level make sure that you do so with distilled water.
- Battery tray. Make sure that your battery is fit snugly within its carriage tray. This helps to ensure that the connections do not end up becoming loose or the battery becomes damaged in some way.
- Battery age. As a battery gets older, it tends to lose its charge. On the average, a battery is only good for about four to four and a half years. If your battery falls within that range, then you should take the expedient measure of getting a new one.
- Storage. If at all possible, then you should store your car in a garage every night. This helps keep the battery from freezing solid.
- Battery heater. If you cannot keep your car in a garage and you live in a very cold climate then you should take advantage of battery heaters. These things can be plugged into your home electrical outlets, help keep your battery from freezing and are going to cost you between $20.00 and $250.00 depending on the type that you purchase.
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