Will winter come early like it did last year, with large amounts of snow and abnormally cold temperatures right after Halloween in many parts of the country? Only time will tell. If you don’t want to be caught off-guard, it’s best not to waste any time performing essential fall maintenance, installing your winter tires and preparing your car for the harsh months that are coming.
It’s worth repeating every year: the battery is one of the components you should never overlook before winter arrives. That’s especially true in 2020.
Why? Because the lockdowns, remote work and changes in people’s mobility habits since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic have negatively affected batteries. Indeed, when your car stays in the driveway for long periods of time, the battery slowly deteriorates and can’t recharge normally.
But it’s not just the extended downtime. This past summer was quite hot, with more heatwaves than we’re used to, impacting humans and automobiles alike.
“A car battery is an insidious little friend that deteriorates during summer when it’s hot, but shows no signs of weakening as long as you don’t require too much juice. Then cold temperatures arrive and all of a sudden the battery refuses to cooperate,” says CAA.
In order to be sure your car battery is in good shape, schedule an appointment with a local dealership or repair shop to have it tested (ideally while you change your tires or need a tune-up). Or you can do it yourself. A battery check takes only a couple of minutes using the proper equipment.
Remember there are a few things you can do to spare your battery in any season. For example, avoid short commutes and combine your errands in one single trip. Opt for synthetic engine oil (if allowed by the vehicle manufacturer) and use a block heater when it’s cold. Also, don’t try to start your engine for more than 10 seconds and wait at least 30 seconds between attempts.