One of the most important small tasks you can do this winter for your car: check on the battery.

When temperatures drop below 32 degrees, car batteries start to lose their power. Depending on the state and age of the battery, they even lose half of that once it goes below 0 degrees. The chemical reaction that starts the battery slows down due to those temperatures, so it fails to start the car if it’s not strong enough. What can you do this winter to prevent that?

Check the voltage. You can check this at home if you have the right tool, or get it checked at a service shop. The voltmeter should be 12.4 or higher. Otherwise, you might risk going out to your car on an especially cold day and your car won’t start.

Check around the battery. Even if the voltage reads fine, a battery can still have problems starting if there’s corrosion around it. Also check that it is secured in place and it has not loosened from its position. If you do spot corrosion, you can carefully scrape it off with a stiff wire brush.

Protect your battery. When you’re not driving, make sure you’ve unplugged all accessories, have turned off any cabin lights, and your headlights are off if you have a car that does not automatically turn them off.

Avoid short drives. A battery recharges as you drive, so frequent short drives will do more harm than good. Additionally, you don’t want to leave your car undriven for long periods of time. Driving it often helps keep the battery from discharging. Even if you’re on holiday, make sure to drive it once in a while.

Get it replaced. If you’ve tested the battery and it reads under 12.4, then you should get it replaced to be safe. There’s nothing more frustrating than being in a hurry to leave and discovering your car won’t start. Even if the charge is above that number, but it has to turn a couple times to get it working, you should bring your car in for an inspection.

Waiting too long to check on or replace your battery could result in a stalled vehicle, so be sure to complete this in a timely manner this winter. Superior Service Center has locations in Eagan or Apple Valley and our techs are ready to help. Need to make an appointment? Click here to schedule at Eagan or Apple Valley.