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Is your car battery ready for winter?

Kwik Fit | Thursday 10th December 2015 11:00am

It’s that time of year again with many newspapers claiming that the UK is on the verge of ‘the coldest winter for 50 years’ and to expect ‘months of snow’. Bookmakers have even gone so far as to slash the odds of it being the coldest winter in a century. But even if an El Niño weather event doesn’t hit the UK this winter, your car generally needs extra attention at this time of year to reduce the risk of a winter breakdown. None more so than your car battery.

Winter vs Car Batteries

Many things can go wrong with your car during the winter but battery failure is one of the most common issues with more breakdowns being reported due to flat batteries than any other problem. Winter takes its toll on your car battery and when the temperature drops below zero degrees celcius, a fully-charged battery will only have around two-thirds of its power available. As a result, a battery over five years old will struggle to start in these conditions due to their reduced capability to hold their charge. You win this round, winter!

Tips To Avoid a Flat Battery

If you are worried your car won't start this winter due to battery failure, there are a number of things you can do to help avoid this:

  • Check the age of the car battery as it will naturally lose its charging capability after about 5 years. Car batteries are stamped with a code which indicates the date of manufacture, but not only is the code hard to find without removing your battery, it also gives no indication as to how long the battery has been fitted to the vehicle. Most batteries are designed to last between 5 and 10 years so if you have owned your car for a long time and don’t recall ever changing your battery, it might be time to replace it, before it one day lets you down.
  • Check for corrosion on the battery terminals, ensure these are fitted tightly and the battery seated properly. Corrosion is caused when battery acid is able to escape due to a faulty connection. This results in corrosive material forming around the terminals which can prevent a clean connection. A build-up of dirt on the battery may also prevent a good, clean connection. Inspect the battery regularly and clean any dirt and residue away from the terminals.   
  • The use of heaters, blowers, the radio and in-car technology such sat nav and mobile phone chargers only place added strain on your car battery and charging system. Minimize the use of these accessories when starting and idling the car so that more power is directed from the alternator to the battery and essential electrical systems.
  • Car batteries naturally lose their charge over time so even if you don’t use your car frequently, make sure you start the engine up regularly to prolong the life of the battery and maintain its charging capability.

Free Battery Check From Kwik Fit

Don’t leave it until your car won’t start this winter, at Kwik Fit our fully-trained technicians can carry out a free and thorough check of your battery starting and charging systems using the latest Bosch testing equipment to make sure your car is ready to tackle even the coldest mornings in 50 years! We’ll check your battery’s performance against the manufacturer’s specification and let you know of any issues and inform you of any parts that need replacing now or in the near future. Should you need to replace your battery, we stock a wide range of car and van batteries for all major makes and models of vehicle.

Contact your nearest Kwik Fit for a free battery check - no appointment necessary. Looking to replace your battery? View our range of car batteries and buy online.


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