8 Wintertime Car and Truck Battery Maintenance Tips

December 10, 2021

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Automotive repair shops and tow trucks love the wintertime—it’s when most car batteries die and leave their owners stranded in a parking lot.

Unlike your laptop computer or cell phone, you never really know how much juice is left in your car battery when you get behind the steering wheel on a cold winter morning.

While it’s important to perform regularly scheduled maintenance, there are several other things that you can do to help prolong the life of your car battery.

Read on to learn more about eight tips that you can use to help keep your battery in good running condition during the cold winter months.

Check Your Battery

The last thing you want to do in 20-degree weather is change out a dead battery in the parking lot. There are countless automotive repair and parts shops that will check your battery for free. The key is doing it in the fall time before the cold weather sets in.

The test is relatively quick and easy—and you won’t have to take your battery out of your engine bay. Once completed, the technician will tell you the current condition of your battery and whether or not you should consider replacing it.

Check Your Alternator

Your alternator is responsible for continually recharging your car battery. Take your car into an auto parts shop, and they can test your alternator without you having to take it out of your vehicle. Also, be sure to check the belt tension, as they can slip due to moisture and freezing temperatures.

Remove Dirt and Corrosion

If you find corrosion or dirt on your battery terminals, grab some water, baking soda, and a toothbrush and gently start to clean. This will help decrease the electrical resistance caused by the grime and debris.

Park in a Garage

Freezing wintertime temperatures put a tremendous amount of stress on a car battery. The cold also changes the chemistry of the internal components in a negative way. Try to park your car in a garage when it’s not in use. This will limit your battery’s exposure to cold temps.

If you don’t have a garage, consider parking near a building, parking garage, or in an area with ample sunlight. Avoid parking your car in shaded, cool places that are exposed to the outdoor elements.

Use a Thermal Blanket

If the weatherman is predicting record freezing temperatures, consider getting a thermal blanket for your battery. After you’ve driven the car and warmed up the engine bay, park the car, turn off the engine, and put the thermal blanket onto the battery. It will help retain heat for a while. Just be sure to remind yourself to remove the thermal covering before you start the car engine.

“Exercise” Your Battery

Short car trips in the wintertime don’t allow the battery enough time to recharge fully. Leaving the car to sit over the weekend doesn’t help much either. It’s recommended that you drive your vehicle in the winter for at least 20 minutes daily to help ensure the battery stays healthy. This “exercise” allows the battery to function correctly and regain any lost charge due to the cold temperatures.

Consider Your Accessories

When you first start your car, avoid the temptation of turning on the heater and other quality of life components. The heater, stereo, lights, and other accessories can rapidly drain your already strained car battery. Give it a few minutes to allow the alternator to start doing its job before you turn on the accessories.

Proactively Buy a New Battery

Is it really worth it to wait until your current car battery gives up the proverbial ghost before you buy a new one? If you have an older battery, you significantly increase the chances of getting stuck in the grocery store parking lot in 20-degree weather. Installing a new Continental battery before your current one dies will provide you with peace of mind throughout the long winter months.

Continental Car Batteries

Freezing cold winter temperatures put an extreme demand upon car batteries. The above tips will help you maximize the life of your current battery and could help prevent the unthinkable from happening.

At Continental Battery, we’ve been providing our customers with high-quality batteries for well over 85 years. Our line of automotive batteries provides superior performance and reliability.

We’re dedicated to developing and maintaining great and long-lasting customer relationships backed up by our superior quality products. Contact us today to learn more about our company and line of car and truck batteries.