As weather gets colder, battery checks become vital
Call any tire repair, auto repair, auto parts, or auto dealership store in the area and a serviceperson will be willing to come and jump-start a dead battery in your vehicle.
Calls for such service, which typically include service fees, increase as winter progresses.
According to Barry Allen of Webster Auto Service in Marion, when the air is cold, batteries are less effective, so it’s important to have a good battery.
The same service people who will jump-start a vehicle also will provide a battery check.
“If you sense hesitancy in starting, that’s a warning sign to have the battery checked,” Allen said.
Mike Mugica, a technician at Midway Motors in Hillsboro, said in-town drivers making short trips to grocery stores or post offices could be draining a battery because it doesn’t have enough time to recharge. If a vehicle sits a week or more at a time without being driven, the operator needs to start it and run it for a while while the radio, heater, and lights are turned off.
Keeping a vehicle in a garage or away from the force of a head-on cold wind is helpful.
Battery terminals need to be kept free of dirt, grime, and corrosion. A damp cloth, baking soda and water and an old toothbrush can be used to clean them if necessary.
Allen said it was best to put the proper size battery in a vehicle.
“Some batteries are not as powerful as others,” he said. “Normally, it’s not a problem but will show up in winter. A good quality battery will have good cranking amps.”
Cables can be used to jump-start a battery, but another vehicle has to be available. Auto parts stores sell portable jump-starters that can be kept in a vehicle for use in an emergency.
Stores also sell battery maintainers that can be plugged into a wall outlet and connected to a battery to keep it charged. This works well for vehicles that sit a long time without being driven.