Heels & Horsepower Magazine


How to avoid getting stranded a flat battery this winter

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.

A vehicle’s engine requires more power to start when it is cold and however, 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. This is because modern cars are equipped with a myriad of electronics that all rely on the correct battery voltage to perform optimally. Automatic gearboxes found in the latest cars also mean that it is not possible to push start a car; added to that, sensitive electronics can be damaged by jump-starting vehicles incorrectly.

In normal circumstances a car battery needs to be changed approximately every three years

– Corné Venter, CEO of Motus Retail and Rental SA

“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.

The older a car battery is, the more time is required to get it charged enough for it to start a cold engine, so, if you generally only travel short distances the battery will not have enough time to sufficiently recharge.

If you cannot remember when your car battery was last replaced, it may be a good idea to have it professionally 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 under cover or in a garage will lessen the strain on the battery when you start your car on cold mornings.
  2. If your car is struggling to start, refrain from continuously cranking it over; 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. 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.

Source: Motus Retail & Rental SA

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