Avoid being stranded with these battery maintenance tips

Very cold weather is here. And with the frigid temperatures will come more frantic calls for help starting cars with weak batteries. Auto clubs here in the U.S. report that dead or weak batteries are the number one reason for roadside service calls. This is because battery performance can be reduced by as much as 35 percent when temperatures hit freezing, and by as much as half when the temperatures go even lower.

While the battery’s capacity is reduced in freezing temperatures, the power needed to start the car’s engine increases substantially compared to warmer weather. All of this can result in a “perfect storm” for those batteries that aren’t in top shape.

CTEK, a Sweden-based manufacturer of high-tech battery chargers/maintainers, offers these tips to avoid being stranded in frigid winter weather:

1) Check your battery. Perform a preventive maintenance check on the battery and cables. Look for corrosion on the terminals. Remove and clean the terminal connections if necessary.

2) Be sensitive to changes. Be aware of any changes in the way your car starts, or the operation of the electrical system in general. Do the lights dim considerably when you try to start the car? Does the starter seem to be turning slower than normal? Any changes can indicate a weak battery or problems in the electrical system.

An even more accurate way to keep tabs on a car’s battery condition is with the CTEK Battery Sense, a Bluetooth enabled battery monitor that gathers data on battery voltage, battery temperature and battery charge status. The stored data is available instantly on a free, downloadable iPhone or Android App.

3) Initiate a program of regular battery charging. In addition to the stress that extreme hot and cold weather places on a battery, today’s automobiles require much more from the electrical system than in the past. Navigation systems, entertainment systems and the plethora of electronic control units drain power from the battery that the alternator cannot completely replace. And, that drain continues even when the car isn’t running.

“In addition to the stress from extreme weather, today’s automotive electrical system is designed to kill batteries,” said Bobbie DuMelle of CTEK. “It puts tremendous demands on the battery, and then does not properly restore it to its full capacity. That’s why CTEK advocates the regular use of a microprocessor-controlled, smart charger to achieve maximum battery service life.”

DuMelle said that the regular use of smart chargers, like the new CTEK MXS 5.0, could help prevent dead batteries in cold weather, and can double or triple battery life.

CTEK chargers actually “talk” to the battery while it is attached, sensing the charge level and adjusting the rate accordingly. The CTEK 5.0 also has a temperature sensor that adjusts the charge rate depending on the ambient temperature – very important to maintain the optimum charge rate, especially in cold weather. The process is very simple with the CTEK charger; it is totally automatic and fool proof. Its eight-step process reconditions the battery and tests it for any potential problems.

By following these steps, car owners can reduce the chances that they will be left out in the cold due to a dead battery when the temperatures drop. And, they will also help extend the service life of their car’s battery. For more information, go online to www.smartercharger.com.

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