Your vehicle not being able to start due to a dead battery is every drivers’ worst nightmare. Unlike most batteries, your car battery doesn’t let you know when it needs to be replaced or charged—leaving you at risk of being stranded during a trip.
Especially now with temperatures dropping, batteries are expected to lose anywhere from 35% to 60% of their strength depending on where you’re located. The good news is there are ways to avoid this from happening, five to be exact. Our experts shared their top tips to keep your car battery healthy amid harsh weather conditions to ensure you feel empowered on the road.
How Do I Know When My Car Battery Needs Replacing?
Before we dive into how to avoid a dead battery, let’s first discuss the symptoms of a dead battery vs. a dead alternator. Both show similar symptoms, but knowing the difference between the two can help you feel prepared when visiting your mechanic.
Dead Battery Signs
- Headlights and radio work but won’t start
- A slower start or no start out of the blue (usually happens in winter months)
- Battery visibly looks damaged
- Check engine light flashes on
Dead Alternator Signs
- Dim or overly bright lights
- Dead battery (when battery tests as good)
- Slow or decreased performance from accessories
- Battery warning light on the dashboard
- Frequent stalling while driving
What Can Drain My Car Battery?
Harsh weather conditions can increase your chances of experiencing part failure, especially if not properly maintained. If you regularly park your vehicle outside, you can almost guarantee that your battery will have a shorter lifespan than those parked in garages. The constant extreme cold wreaks havoc on batteries which can lead to a frozen car battery and a decreased life expectancy.
While keeping your vehicle in a garage is not always a viable solution, there are ways that you can protect your battery during the winter months. You also have the option to get your battery tested at popular retailers for free to determine whether or not it’s a quick fix or a larger issue.
5 Ways to Keep Your Car Battery From Dying
1. Disconnect Your Battery
If you plan on not driving your vehicle for a few days, you can disconnect it and bring it into your garage or basement to keep it in a more climate-controlled area. If this is too cumbersome for you, there are battery blankets and battery warmers that you can purchase that help insulate your battery. These do a great job of holding in heat and protecting your battery from extreme temperature differences.
2. Drive More Often
A little known fact about car batteries is that short trips can also decrease the life expectancy of your battery. Your battery is part of your charging system, getting its electricity from your alternator while you are driving. Short trips do not allow adequate time for your battery to receive a good charge, thus killing your battery quicker than those who take longer trips.
To keep your battery running as long as possible, try taking longer trips or driving more often. This can be as simple as taking the scenic route to work or visiting friends more often. Keeping your battery fully charged by driving your car for longer periods is a great way to increase life expectancy.
3. Keep Your Battery Clean
Due to the electrical components of your battery, your vehicle’s battery can become dirty over time even in the cleanest of engine bays. Properly cleaning your battery can be done in a few easy steps.
Starting with the battery terminals, inspect these a few times a month to check for any corrosion. Automotive battery terminals will oftentimes get corrosion build-up that will need to be cleaned off with a wire brush. This corrosion can lead to decreased performance, damage of components, and harmful chemicals that could damage other under-hood parts.
Battery acid is another thing you will want to look for on your battery. Batteries are filled with a solution known as battery acid. This acid can leak over time, causing the caustic liquid to ooze from the battery. This is a sign that you will want to change your battery soon before your battery or other underhood components become permanently damaged.
4. Invest In A Battery Charger
Charging your car battery in cold weather is now easier than ever, especially if you’re planning to shelter in place. A charger is a great investment to keep your battery working its best. A car battery has to be charged to provide the starting power needed to start your vehicle. The electricity that charges your battery comes from your alternator when your vehicle is running. If your vehicle sits for extended periods, you will not have a charged battery the next time you go to start your car.
A car battery charger is a device that plugs into a household outlet and hooks up to your battery terminals to charge your battery. This can be done with the battery in or out of the car and is perfect for charging the car battery in cold weather. You can even find portable battery chargers that you can keep in your vehicle if you accidentally leave your lights on or are having problems starting your vehicle.
5. Watch Your Battery-Draining Accessories
Lastly, you will want to keep an eye on how many accessories you are using in your vehicle. Anything that you plug into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter or power access points will put a strain on your battery. Items such as cell phone chargers, radar detectors, and other small electronics should not have a big effect on your battery.
If you constantly find yourself having issues with your battery, then our experts suggest reconsidering the accessories used when driving.
Maintenance Made Easy With EnduranceAdvantage™
With proper car maintenance, avoiding a dead car battery is easier than ever. Unfortunately, there may be a chance your battery might need to be replaced due to wear and tear. If you find yourself in that situation and looking to save on your next battery replacement, you’re in luck.
For the first time ever, you can experience both breakdown protection PLUS unrivaled maintenance benefits in one total package. Drivers like yourself can receive up to $100 towards the replacement of a failed battery* and get back on the road with EnduranceAdvantage™. Endurance’s newest protection plan not only saves you thousands on auto repairs but also includes maintenance coverage plus everyday driving perks. You can request a free no-obligation quote today to start driving confidently knowing you have the most comprehensive auto protection package on the market.
*Must be beyond OEM’s specified tolerance, a one-time use per life of the contract.