How to optimize your car’s battery life in the winter

Having an unresponsive car battery can be frustrating when you have to take your car out on a frigid morning. In this article, the OCTO Auto Service Plus team offers expert tips for prolonging the lifespan of this critical vehicle part during the winter season.

The role of the battery

The battery is a vital car component because it provides the energy needed to activate the starter and get your motor running. In addition, it stores the energy produced by the alternator, which powers auxiliary functions, such as those that keep you comfortable and entertained on your ride.

The battery’s lifespan

Most car batteries should have an average lifespan of about three to five years. However, well-maintained batteries can last up to 10 years.

Primary wear factors

Several elements contribute to premature wear on a battery, including:

  • Making quick trips with frequent stops
  • Failing to use high-quality synthetic oil as recommended by the manufacturer
  • Trying to force your car to start in cold temperatures by repeatedly turning the key and holding it for more than 10 seconds without pausing between attempts
  • Leaving the car exposed to cold temperatures for an extended period of time

Winning strategies

Follow these recommendations to give your car the best odds of avoiding breakdowns or battery drain this winter:

  • Use a block heater to make starting the engine easier in cold temperatures.
  • Use a multimeter to test your battery — we recommend at least 12.4 V — or have it inspected regularly at OCTO Auto Service Plus.
  • Avoid using too many accessories while driving, such as USB outlets, radio or GPS. Ensure they’re turned off when starting the vehicle.
  • Dress warmly when you drive, so you don’t have to use high heat settings.
  • Drive for at least 15 to 20 minute to give the battery long enough to recharge completely, especially on your first drive of the day. Consider getting a smart charger if you don’t use your car very often.

Consult a car battery professional

If you’re not entirely comfortable checking the state of your car battery, don’t worry! Your nearest OCTO Auto Service Plus is happy to do it for you. They’ll give you accurate information about your battery’s condition and replace it if necessary. Contact us to make an appointment.

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