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Recomendations During winter


During winter, with humidity and low temperatures, calls to roadside assistance services tend to become common, because cars run out of battery and are reluctant to start. Normally we attribute these battery failures to a deterioration due to these meteorological conditions, but, it is not like that, since although the failures occur in winter, it is in summer when they deteriorate most.

This is explained by the initiative led by Automotive Component Manufacturers, ‘Choose quality, choose trust’ (ECEC), it is the high summer temperatures that are responsible for the greater wear and tear on batteries.

In winter, what happens is that the low temperature of the engine and oil, demand greater starting power from the batteries, which is sometimes not achieved given the deterioration they have suffered during the summer. In addition, the low temperatures typical of winter influence the chemical process that takes place inside the battery, which also affects starting and recharging.

The malfunction of some vehicle components can adversely affect the performance of others with which they are related. A clear example is the battery. As explained by TAB Batteries, the entire electrical installation of our car depends on the power supply being in optimal condition. A malfunction of the same can not only cause an excessive increase in fuel consumption, but also affect and even damage other components such as the electrical system or the computer control units, resulting in a much more expensive repair.

Winter adds to the meteorological factors to consider during this year one more aggravation: the confinement that has greatly limited our movements. The data is clear: batteries are the number one cause of roadside assistance. To avoid costly and inopportune surprises, it is recommended that users pay special attention to this element, keeping it in good condition and always through a professional.

As clarified from Johnson Controls, the necessary care of the batteries is even more important in the new hybrid and electric scenario in vehicles.  Since the battery is, literally, the “heart” of the car, supplying energy to all the electrical components, from the ignition to the systems of entertainment.

Mainly, irregular use of the vehicle or, above all, for short trips affects the starting power of the battery. “A common mistake made by drivers is to think that the battery does not have to supply energy with the engine off,” explains Rocío Fernández Palomar, marketing director of the battery manufacturer Johnson Controls in Spain.

“However, systems such as alarms, door locks, the Keyless-Go function and the navigation systems also need power when the car is parked. Additionally, the defroster and ventilation are subjected to continuous and more intensive use in winter and all this contributes to discharging the battery”, she adds.

As a consequence, if its energy is not sufficient, the engine will no longer be able to start, a problem that nevertheless has an easy solution since, as Fernández indicates, “modern batteries do not need maintenance, but very few drivers they take them to be checked by a specialist“. It would be advisable to also check the battery when the next check of the lights or the tire change in the workshop is done. If it is necessary to change it, this service must be provided by a specialist “, (the specialist) concludes.

A battery failure can have multiple causes, but extreme temperatures, both in summer and winter, have been shown to reduce its useful life. It also influences the same extent that the driver does not use the vehicle for a long time or only uses it for short trips. In general, a short distance is no longer sufficient for the alternator to fully charge the battery.

In winter especially, when starting, for example, the rear window heater contributes to the discharge of the battery, which is why drivers should take a long journey at least once a month. For this reason, it is advisable to carry out periodic maintenance of the battery once a year in a specialized workshop, in addition, this service is usually free and only takes a few minutes.

J. Bacorelle – ABC Madrid 7-12-2020

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