Avoid the battery blues this winter

02 June, 2016

Following a warmer-than-average autumn, Victorians are scrambling for jackets, beanies and gloves as winter has the state in a chilly grip this week.

However, RACV has urged motorists not to forget that their car battery could be struggling too.

“Getting old is hard - especially when the cold weather comes around,” RACV Motoring and Mobility General Manager Gordon Oakley said.

“In the same way that we’re having trouble getting started in the morning and the cold weather makes some of us go a bit slower, car batteries are also feeling the cold,” he said.

Last winter, RACV Emergency Roadside Assistance received more than 100,000 calls for help from motorists experiencing battery problems.

Some of these emergencies can be avoided by following a few simple tips.

“It is important that the battery you have fitted is in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.

“If possible, park your car indoors or under cover to keep it as warm as possible overnight.

“Keeping the top of your battery clean can prevent dirt build-up from draining your battery power.

If your battery is more than three years old, it could be time to replace it,” Mr Oakley said.

To avoid battery trouble this winter, RACV members can call an RACV battery specialist for free anywhere across Greater Melbourne and Geelong to:

  • Check the overall condition of your battery, including the vehicle’s charging system.
  • Make sure you’ve got the right type of battery for your car.
  • Run some basic preventative maintenance, such as cleaning your battery, checking fluid levels (if required), and ensuring your battery is secure in its housing.

“If it’s time to trade in the old battery for a new one, we can do it on the spot – no need to make an appointment. We offer discounted prices on new batteries for members, and our installations come with a nationwide warranty for your peace of mind. We’ll even give your old one a proper goodbye and give it new life through recycling,” Mr Oakley said.

Attached: RACV Emergency Roadside Assistance WINTER TIPS FOR BATTERIES

RACV Emergency Roadside Assistance: Winter Tips for Batteries

RACV Emergency Roadside Assistance: Winter Tips for Batteries

Reasons why

The vehicle cranks slowly when trying to start.

Cold weather can slow the chemical reactions that take place inside the battery, reducing the power output, sometimes resulting in your vehicle not being able to start and ultimately shortening the battery's life

A grinding, clicking or buzzing can be heard when you turn the ignition on.

Increased use of vehicle's headlights, wipers, heater, heated seats and rear-screen heaters put additional strain on the battery

The headlights dim while you idle.

More battery power is required to override the impacts from cold weather on the fuel and ignition systems

The vehicle's battery is more than three years old.

Typical lifespan of a battery is between 3-5 years, after which the performance will diminish

What motorists can do

  • Make sure your vehicle's service history is up to date before the cold weather hits
  • Make sure you have the right type of battery for your car - rated according to your manufacturer's specifications
  • Keep the top of your battery and terminals clean and free of built-up dirt, if accessible. Also look out for corrosion on your terminals as it can inhibit the flow of current
  • Consider getting an RACV Battery Expert (RACV Batteries - 13 11 11) to check the condition of your battery, that you've got the right type of battery for your car and run some basic preventative maintenance
Written by Liselotte Geary, RACV Public Affairs on 9790 2717
June 02, 2016