Winter And Your Car

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Winter is a tricky time to prepare for because it only lasts for a brief period, however the consequences of not preparing properly can be long lasting. These preparations can range from updating your wardrobe and getting warmer blankets out, to going for a flu shot. 

Preparing your car for winter isn’t something people often do, but due to the extreme cold in certain parts of the country, it’s necessary to make sure your car will be operational on freezing cold mornings after a drastic drop in temperature the night before.

These are four main focuses when it comes to getting your car winter sharp.

Be mindful of power usage 

Cold temperatures can impact the components of your car. Batteries in particular are drastically affected, and this is because they power the entire engine. The starter has to draw more power to crank a cold engine in winter, which draws more amps. Over time, this will weaken the battery. 

It’s advisable to switch off any features that drain power, like USB chargers,  and turn any features you really want to keep on, like aircon, on low when you park. It also helps to avoid using bright lights, unless when necessary, during the winter season.

The link between car maintenance and battery life

If your car engine isn’t working optimally the battery will take strain. In cold weather, engine components in poor condition may require more energy to get started and function well, which can lead to the battery being overloaded or damaged. Maintaining your car according to the manufacturer’s guidelines will help your battery last longer.

Test and clean the battery terminals

A battery that is old or in poor condition can be the determining factor to whether your car spends the night in your garage, or parking bay, or not. Clean your battery terminals with a warm, wet cloth to remove acid residue that builds up over time, as the acid can damage the cells of your battery.

Head of MiWay Blink, Keletso Mpisane says, “It’s advisable to test your car battery at a battery centre at least once a year or during service intervals to ensure your car battery is in good condition. This should include an analysis of the electrolyte, or water, levels of your battery. Also ask the technician to check that your battery is securely fastened and held in place.”

Pay attention to your car

In the same way that cold temperatures impact your health, your car engine is affected too, so in winter it is advisable to give your car some time to warm up before a drive. And, like the human body, your car gives you signals when something is starting to go wrong 

“For example, if you struggle to start your car, you should have it checked by a certified mechanic. Avoid cranking the engine forcibly to get your car started, because it will damage other components – like the starter, the computer box and battery,” adds Mpisane.