Keep Your Battery and Charging System Working Their Best
Cold weather can cause your battery to start giving you trouble. If you have noticed that your vehicle is a little harder to start, your lights don’t seem as bright, or your check engine light has come on, it could be time to have your vehicles battery and charging system checked.
Todays complex electronic systems that make your driving experience more enjoyable, also place a lot of demand on your vehicles battery. A battery can fail from the excessive load or from overcharging. Overcharging happens from a malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, which can allow it to charge at a higher rate, leading to slow death for a battery.
In addition, the colder temperatures can increase the thickness of the engine oil, making the engine harder to turn over, causing the battery to have to work more. These factors lead to harder starting.
What You Can Do
To get the most life out of a battery, follow these simple steps:
• Be sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate; overcharging can damage a battery as quickly as undercharging.
• If your battery is the type that needs to be topped off, check it regularly. Add distilled water when necessary.
• Always replace a battery with one that’s rated at least as high as the one originally specified.
• Have the battery checked if you notice headlights and interior lights dim, accessories that fail to operate, or the “check engine” or battery light illuminated.
• Keep the top of the battery clean. Dirt becomes a conductor, which drains battery power. Further, as corrosion accumulates on battery terminals, it becomes an insulator, inhibiting current flow.
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