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Keeping your car battery in top shape during winter

The RAC reports that there are many more battery-related callouts in winter, with peaks in the cold of December and rainy April.

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Water

Batteries and cables that get wet will leak current. You’ll have even more trouble if it penetrates the wiring loom, so make sure it can’t.

Temperature

In the cold, batteries struggle to produce the surge to turn the engine. This is when any other weakness in your electrics will expose itself and make things worse.

Alternators

Over- or under-charging alternators can damage your battery, and a battery that is reluctant to charge will cause the alternator to overheat.

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Cables and brackets

Loose connectors are easy to check and a common cause of unnecessary callouts. Be vigilant for corrosion on the terminals. It can also get inside your cables.

Power

Batteries with too much or too little power for your model can cause problems. Unfortunately, choosing the best one isn’t as simple as checking the manual; vehicles have a range of electrical accessories – whether they were manufacturer options or not – that affect the true power requirements of the vehicle.

Quality

Few batteries last more than five years, but a quality battery that is properly treated could keep going for up to 10 years.

Some batteries provide excellent cranking and others reserve power, but the average user needs both. An excellent example is the Odyssey PC680 starter battery available from http://www.grovesbatteries.co.uk. The purity of the metal plates and their larger surface area is what makes the difference.

Negligence

Car batteries are designed to stay fully charged. Leaving lights, window heaters, or music systems running not only drains it but also damages it. A little parasitic drain for your clock, radio presets, and alarm is expected, but if it’s even slightly too much, you will pay.

More damage is done when you try to start your car with things already switched on, such as the wipers. Circuits can be fried by the surge, but in any case, they make your car struggle to turn the engine; think of trying to run with a ball and chain round your legs!

Laziness costs you dearly

Using your car for lots of short runs to schools and shops does not allow it to charge properly and kills your electrics pretty quickly!

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