And if no one has jumper cables? Might be a good idea to have your battery checked now
Dinner was great as you and your wife gazed into each other’s eyes across a candlelit table while the blowing snow whirled and howled outside creating a spinning backdrop of white on black in the window. Now, as they lock the door behind you, it’s time to go home. At the car, you open and hold the door for her while you wonder how you were ever so fortunate. Then, you slide behind the wheel feeling as though you heart could burst with joy. You turn the key and … nothing happens?
That is definitely not the way this story should go. It’s not the way to cap off the perfect romantic evening. But, this coming winter, if your battery isn’t up to snuff, that, or a story much like it, could be waiting for you.
Winter tends to test batteries. The oil in the car gets thicker making the starter work harder to turn over a cold engine. And, if the starter works harder, it needs more energy, more amps, to get the job done. That power comes from the battery, or maybe it doesn’t.
In spite of the effects of a harsh winter day on your car’s charging and staring system, in the scenario above, the problem may have started several months earlier.
“Winter can be hard on a car’s battery,” said Denny Norton of Ringwood based Performance Unlimited. “However, a really hot summer is even harder on a battery. The battery might die in the winter, but it’s possible it’s died because of what the heat did to it in July and August.”
As Norton pointed out, a really cold night could be the straw that breaks the back of a battery that was cooked in 100-plus-degree heat, as well as higher temperatures when the car was operating.
“It’s really a good idea to have your battery checked this time of year so you don’t run into trouble when you really need it,” Norton said.
While batteries that fail in the summer are inconvenient, they’re usually not as potentially dangerous as a battery that fails in the depths of winter. Stranded with sub-zero temperatures and hazardous wind-chill factors does not paint a pretty picture.
Norton said it only takes a qualified auto repair shop about five minutes to check a battery. It’s not a bad idea to have the rest of the charging system checked while you’re at it. In fact, checking or changing the oil and otherwise winterizing your car this time of year is the mark of a wise vehicle operator.
As for the battery, the cost of a new one is inexpensive insurance against the scene at the top of the story. In the case of a battery that is five or more years old, Norton said it’s a good idea to just go ahead and replace it.
For more information about Performance Unlimited, call 815-728-0343 or check them out on the Internet at www.4performanceunlimited.com.