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How to Care for Your Battery in Winter

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As winter sets in, one of the most critical components of your vehicle is your battery. Cold temperatures will impact battery performance – the colder a battery is, the less power it can produce.  This will normally lead to sluggish starting. To help you navigate the winter months with peace of mind, here are some essential tips to preserve and protect your battery:

Tips for Car Batteries

1. Charge your battery

Charging your battery overnight with a quality multistage charger will balance the cells and make sure your battery is in good condition before winter sets in. If your battery is more than 4 years old or cranking the engine slower than normal, consider having it tested or replacing it before the cold weather intensifies.

2. Park Indoors or in a Sheltered Area

Whenever possible, park your car in a garage or carport.  This will shield the battery from the low temperatures and allow it to crank the engine more efficiently.

3. Turn Off Accessories When Starting

Before starting your car, ensure all accessories (heater, radio, lights) are turned off. This reduces the load on the battery when you're trying to start the engine.

4. Check Battery Terminals and Connections

Ensure battery terminals are clean, tight, and free from corrosion. Corrosion can hinder the flow of electricity and reduce battery performance, especially in cold conditions.

5. Keep an Emergency Kit

It is a good idea to carry jumper cables or a portable jump starter in your vehicle, especially if you are travelling long distances. Even with the best preparation an unexpected battery failure can occur, and having the means to jump start your car or help another stranded motorist can be a lifesaver.

6. Drive Your Vehicle Regularly

Regular use helps keep your battery charged. If your vehicle is not driven for extended periods, consider using a battery maintenance charger to keep it charged and at a high state of battery health.

7. Get a Winter Check-Up

Before winter arrives, consider having your battery and electrical system checked and tested. This will help identify potential issues and ensure everything is in good working order for the colder months ahead.


Tips for Golf Cart Batteries

Whether you use your golf cart for leisurely rounds or essential transportation around your community, here are some valuable tips to preserve and protect your batteries during the winter months:

1. Charge and Maintain Your Batteries

Start the winter season with fully charged batteries. This ensures they have maximum capacity to endure colder temperatures and maintain performance.  If you are not going to use your golf cart for an extended period, charge the batteries every 2 months to ensure they are kept fully charged, or connect them to a battery charger with a float mode.

2. Keep Batteries Clean and Terminals Tight

Inspect the battery posts and terminals for dirt, corrosion, or loose connections. Clean terminals with a mixture of baking soda and water to remove corrosion.  Once they are clean and dry, use a wire brush to remove any hard deposits before re-connecting the terminal to the battery.  Do not over tighten the terminal as this can damage the post.  Do not use terminal spray as this can reduce conductivity.

3. Consider Battery Maintenance

If your golf cart batteries are not maintenance-free, check the electrolyte levels regularly and top up with distilled water as needed (do not add battery acid). Ensure vent caps are secure to minimize evaporation.

4. Drive Your Golf Cart Occasionally

If feasible, take your golf cart for a short drive periodically during winter. This helps maintain battery health by keeping the cells active.

5. Monitor Battery Performance

Pay attention to any signs of decreased performance, such as reduced range or slower acceleration. Addressing these early can prevent more significant issues with your golf cart batteries.


Preparing Your Leisure Battery for Winter Storage

1. Inspection and Cleaning

Before storing your leisure battery, conduct a thorough inspection to identify any potential issues:

  • Clean the Battery: If there are any signs of corrosion, use a solution of baking soda and water to neutralise any corrosion on the battery terminals and surrounding areas. Remember to wear gloves and eye protection.
  • Check for Damage: Inspect the battery case for cracks, leaks, or other damage.

2. Charging the Battery

A fully charged battery retains its charge better during storage:

  • Disconnect from Appliances: Ensure the battery is disconnected from any devices or appliances.
  • Use a Suitable Charger: A smart charger capable of maintaining a float charge is ideal.
  • Charge Fully: Connect the charger and allow the battery to charge until it reaches full capacity, which may take several hours or overnight depending on its size and State of Charge.

3. Disconnect from Appliances

To prevent any residual drain, disconnect the battery from all devices before storage.

4. Choosing the Right Storage Location

  • Cool and Dry: Find a cool, dry area that is shielded from extreme temperature fluctuations and moisture.
  • Ventilation: Ensure there is adequate ventilation.
  • Secure and Stable: The storage area should be stable, with no risk of the battery falling or being damaged.

5. Periodic Maintenance Checks

Regular maintenance ensures your battery remains in good condition throughout winter:

  • Check Charge Levels: Periodically monitor the battery's State of Charge and recharge if necessary. Consider using a smart charger for maintaining a float charge for lead acid batteries.
  • Inspect for Damage: Regularly inspect the battery for leaks, corrosion, or any signs of deterioration. Address any issues promptly.

6. Storage Safety

Proper storage is key to maintaining organization and safety.  Ensure the battery is stored in an upright position to prevent leaks or spills.

By following these steps, you can ensure your leisure battery is properly prepared and stored for winter, maintaining its performance and longevity for future use. Proper care now will contribute to trouble-free operation and enjoyment when spring returns.


Tips for Motorcycle Batteries

Here are revised instructions for maintaining your motorcycle battery's charge when not in use:

  1. Disconnect the Battery: If storing the battery in the motorcycle, disconnect the negative (black) terminal to prevent parasitic drain from electrical components.
  2. Keep the battery charged: For lead acid batteries, connect a quality battery charger which is designed to charge the battery and then maintain it with a float charge.
  3. Inspect and Clean: Visually inspect the battery for corrosion or damage. Corrosion can be neutralised with a mixture of baking soda and water.

These steps will help ensure your motorcycle battery is ready for use when the warm weather returns.

These are our tips for caring for your battery in winter. If you have any questions or would like us to take a look at your battery, please contact your closest R&J Batteries branch. Our team of experts are well equipped to help troubleshoot your battery worries, find you the best battery for your needs or set you up with the best chargers and accessories. Contact your local branch today.

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