One of the most important parts of your car is the battery. If it doesn't work,
your car doesn't start. And, in the winter that is even more true than in the
The electrical power produced by the battery is used by the cars ignition system
for cranking the engine. The car's battery also may power the lights and other
Have the battery tested on a regular basis, including when the car is serviced,
before long trips and after it's been recharged.
Here are some things you can do yourself to prevent being stranded on a cold
Know how old your battery is. To see how old your battery is look for a small
decal on the battery. A letter with a number should be there. The letter
indicates the month, starting with "A" for January, "B" for February, and so on.
I is skipped so December is "M". The number represents the year with "9"
standing for 1999, "0" for 2000, etc. so D2, would be April, 2002. F5 would be
June, 2005. Experts usually advise getting a new battery when a battery is four
Watch for corroded terminals or battery posts, loose clamps, loose cables, or a
leaking or damaged battery case. Look for dirty, wet, corroded or swollen cables
and battery top.
Look for a loose or broken alternator belt. If the alternator fails the battery
might also need to power the vehicle's entire electrical system until repairs
can be made.
Keep jumper cables in the trunk of your car for emergency start up. Make sure
the cables are free of rust and corrosion and that there are no exposed wires
before using them.
Park your car in a garage whenever possible.
If you must leave your car outside all day, go out and start the car two or
three times a day and let the car run for a few minutes to warm up. This will
help the car to start more easily when you are ready to go.
When temperatures are below zero Fahrenheit avoid leaving the car out for
extended periods of time.
About the Author: Marilyn Pokorney. Freelance
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