Minnesota winters don’t mess around. When we get freezing weather, our lows can reach extremes of –30 F or below. In general, it puts some extra strain on your vehicle’s mechanics, especially the battery. When the weather starts to turn cold, it’s important to take precautions and keep up with your car battery maintenance. Here are some tips for keeping your car running this winter:  

  1. Make sure your battery is fully charged before winter sets in.

One of the most important things you can do to prepare your car for winter is to make sure the battery is in good condition. A dying battery will not work well in cold weather, and it may even freeze. The liquid solution used in a battery—acid and water—can actually solidify if the temperatures and its charge get low enough. In order to avoid this, you should regularly check the battery’s charge level. You can also invest in a battery charger, which will help keep the battery charged if it starts to go lower than you’d like. By taking these simple steps, you can ensure that your car will be able to start in the cold winter months. 

  1. Keep your battery clean and free of corrosion.

Your car’s battery is essential for starting the engine, and it also provides power to the electrical system when the engine is off. Without a healthy and clean battery, your car simply won’t run at peak levels. Build-up or corrosion can occur if the acid inside starts to leak, or if the vapors that naturally release from the battery start to condense. Corrosion can kill a battery very quickly, so it’s important to check the terminals regularly for issues. If you see any corrosion, clean it off with a wire brush or battery terminal cleaner. You should also check the fluid level in the battery regularly, and top it off with distilled water if you’re comfortable doing that. 

  1. Make sure your terminals are tight and free of oxidation. 

In order to keep your battery working properly, you should check the terminals regularly. Loose or corroded terminals can cause a number of problems including decreased performance, increased charging time, and damage to the battery itself. In extreme cases, they can even cause fires. To prevent these problems, make sure that the terminals are tight and free of oxidization. If they’re damaged, it’s typically best to replace the battery entirely. When you spot damage around the battery or terminals, bring it in for an expert inspection. 

  1. If you’re going to be storing your car for an extended period of time, disconnect the negative terminal from the battery to prevent draining it while it’s parked.

If you know you won’t be driving your car for a while, experts recommend disconnecting the negative terminal from the battery. This will prevent your battery from draining while it’s not being used. When you’re ready to start using your car again, simply reconnect the negative terminal and start the engine. When done correctly, your battery should be charged and ready to go. If you don’t disconnect the negative terminal before a long period of inactivity, your battery may die completely. 

By taking these precautions, you can help ensure that your car will start up without any problems when the weather turns cold. If you’re worried about your battery going into winter, stop by Superior Service Center where our experts can test the charge and recommend next steps.