Getting stranded with a flat battery is more serious than in years gone by.
Winter is not a great time for your car battery and if it is not in a good condition, it will probably fail during these colder months.
Why is that? A vehicle’s engine requires more power to start when it is cold and at the same time the colder temperatures make it more difficult for a car battery to provide the power that it normally does.
Getting stranded with a flat battery is more serious than in years gone by. Cars these days are equipped with a myriad of electronics that all rely on the correct battery voltage to perform optimally. Automatic gearboxes found in most cars these days also mean that it is not possible to push start your car and sensitive electronics can be damaged by jump-starting vehicles incorrectly.
“In normal circumstances, a car battery needs to be changed approximately every three years. With many people driving less or infrequently due to the on-going work-from-home trend, the normal three-year lifespan could be considerably shorter,” says the CEO of Motus Retail and Rental SA, Corné Venter.
As batteries get older, they require a longer running time to fully recharge after the heavy load of starting a vehicle, so if you generally only travel short distances the battery will not have enough time to sufficiently recharge.
If your battery is running out of time or you cannot remember when it was last replaced, it is a good idea to have it checked to ascertain if it still has some life left in it. Most battery retailers will perform this check free of charge.
Prolong the life of your battery with these handy tips:
1. Keeping your car warm by parking it undercover or in a garage will lessen the strain on the battery as you try and start your car on cold mornings.
2. If your car is struggling to start, do not keep cranking it over for long periods of time. Rather take a break of a few minutes between starting attempts.
3. Ensure that all ancillaries including the lights, radio and heater are turned off to free up extra power for the starting process.
4. A well-serviced vehicle will start easier. Ensure that your vehicle is maintained and that the engine oil and belts are replaced in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations. A well-maintained car will place less strain on the battery, as the vehicle will start easily, no matter the temperature.