Keep car battery fit longer

The car battery is under a lot of stress in winter

In winter you can see how fit the car battery is. The good thing is that drivers can influence the battery. 

It's that time of the year again: The temperatures are falling. Late risers notice this when they are woken up in the morning by loud but unsuccessful auto-start attempts in the neighborhood. The long “organ” of the starter, which ends in the final clack-clack, makes it unmistakably clear: It has gotten cool and the cold gives weak batteries the rest.

Check the battery before winter

It is best for drivers to check how fit their vehicle's battery is as early as autumn. The lifespan of car batteries is usually between five and seven years. In order not to miss the time to replace the electricity storage system, a routine battery check should be carried out before winter. Many workshops offer this service free of charge, but you can also do it yourself. Chargers with a test function or a voltage tester can be used for this. If the test device shows a value between 12,4 and 12,7 volts, the battery is OK. If the value is below 12 volts, we recommend replacing the battery. The headlight test also provides information on the condition of the battery: If the low beam becomes significantly darker after a short time without the engine running, this indicates a weak battery.

Do not use seat heating permanently

The battery is very demanding in the cold season. Heating the front and rear windows, heated seats, blowers and air conditioning puts a strain on the battery. Ideally, for example, the seat heating should be switched off as soon as the buttocks are comfortably warm. It is also important to avoid short journeys if possible. Especially in times of home office and reduced mileage, some drivers have to worry for the first time that they are not moving their vehicle enough. If you only drive short distances over a long period of time, the generator cannot recharge the battery sufficiently. At some point she will run out of juice.

If nothing works, you might be lucky that your neighbor is on your toes and offers start-up help. A jump start cable and a second car are required for this. The jump start cable has red and black clips at both ends. Red stands for plus, black for minus. The terminals are used to connect the weak battery to that of the helping vehicle and thus transmit the donated electricity. You have to pay attention to the correct sequence, this applies to both attachment and disconnection.

Give jump-start help

If the engine of the auxiliary vehicle is switched off, both positive poles of the batteries are connected to the red terminals of the cable. Then a black clamp of the cable is attached to the negative pole of the auxiliary vehicle and finally the other black clamp is attached to a metal part in the engine compartment of the breakdown vehicle. Now start the engine of the auxiliary vehicle, then that of the breakdown vehicle, the starter should turn. If not, it is advisable to check the connections again and to ensure that current can actually flow from contact to contact.

If the starter turns and the engine starts, a powerful electrical consumer such as a fan or rear window heater should be switched on after a short while in the newly started car. This avoids any voltage peaks when removing the contacts, which could possibly damage sensitive control units. Then the black clamps are first removed from the donor car, then from the recipient vehicle. Then the electrical consumers are switched off again and then the red terminals are removed. The best thing to do is to first take a longer drive and then recharge the battery using a charger at the socket so that there is no risk of repeating the jump start the next morning. If the breakdown recurs anyway, the battery is very likely defective. Then only an exchange will help. If the first attempt at starting is unsuccessful in spite of the rotating starter, there could be other defects in addition to a weak battery. All that remains is to call the breakdown service or a workshop.

 

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