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  • Writer's pictureJonnie Hendrickson

Is Your Car Battery About to Fail?

Super Lube mechanic testing car battery

Your car battery has never been more important than it is today. Modern cars offer complex infotainment systems, lane assist, smart braking, radar cruise control, automatic parking, driver alerts and laptop-sized screens, all of which put a tremendous strain on your battery.

While the average lifespan of a battery is 3-5 years, under specific circumstances, any battery can fail. Johnson Controls, one of the world’s largest battery manufacturers, evaluated 67,000 active vehicles and found that every 4th car on the road had a weak battery.

So, what weakens a battery and causes it to fail? And what can you do about it?

The top reasons batteries fail include extreme temperatures, irregular or short trip usage, and the age of your vehicle and its battery.

While extreme winter temperatures are often to blame, Winnipeg’s rapid transition from dry summer heat to icy cold is the real culprit. Exposure to dry heat evaporates some of the water in the electrolyte of your battery, which leads to sulfation - a buildup of damage causing sulfate crystals - reducing battery function and efficiency. Then, freezing weather hits and slows down the battery’s integral chemical reactions, reducing its capacity to perform at the exact time when more power is needed to start a cold engine and circulate sluggish oil. To top it off, you, the Winnipeg winter driver has maxed out the heat and defrost dials to keep from freezing while your car thaws. This is truly a perfect storm for battery failure.

Irregular usage or only driving short distances each day never allows the battery to fully charge itself – having a cumulative weakening effect on the battery, regardless of its age.

What can you do to keep your car warm and running in the middle of winter?

Free car battery testing at Super Lube

Drive regularly each week. If your typical daily drive is a short commute, take your vehicle out for a longer ride at least once a month. Most importantly, consistently get your battery checked, specifically before the snow falls and temperatures plummet.

Common warning signs that you should address immediately with a battery checkup include your headlights looking dim and yellow instead of white, the smell of sulfur or rotten eggs in or around your vehicle, white or light blue corrosion on the case or positive post of your battery, a new or unusual sounding car horn, or the sudden failure of any electronic accessories.

Don’t leave this important checkup until your battery leaves you on the side of the road in the middle of winter.

NEW! As part of your regular oil-change we will TEST your Battery, Starter and Alternator for FREE. No appointment required, but if you prefer to plan ahead, you can book your oil change online right now!

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