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Prepare Your Car Battery for the Winter

How to Prepare Your Car Battery for the Winter

Nov 27, 2017





How to Prepare Your Car Battery for the Winter

Batteries are not exciting things. They store power. They make our stuff work. You have to replace or recharge them sometimes. You can get new ones almost anywhere.

Nobody thinks much about batteries. This is a funny thing since batteries are everywhere. There are probably at least a handful batteries within a 20-foot radius of you right now and you probably care about none of them. There is at least one battery in your life, however, that you should be thinking about right now, and it’s the battery in your vehicle.

“I hope someone visits me, soon,” the battery in your car says. “It’s getting cold out, winter is coming, and I could use me a little bit of lovin’ before the cold and ice show up. Why does nobody ever visit?”

Your car battery is lonely. It doesn’t ask for much. But right now, it wants you to give it a little love. After all, when the cold and snow and ice arrive, that lowly battery begins the hardest part of its year.

Do you like being late for meetings because your car won’t start? Do you like playing a game of “OMG WILL IT START TODAY?” every morning before work? Does being stranded at the airport Park-N-Fly at 3 am sound like a thing you’d enjoy? Are you a fan of inventing new swear words when you turn your car’s key, only to be met with the sound of silence?

Probably not.

We’ve compiled some tips below on how to give your battery a little TLC before and during winter so your winter doesn’t suck quite as much.

Check It: Even if your older battery has been firing up reliably all summer and fall, it could still be on the verge of failure. If that’s the case, you can expect a big letdown on the first really cold morning of the winter.

Solution? Have the battery checked. Special battery-testing equipment runs your battery through a barrage of tests and spits out a result. The result might be that your battery is perfect, fine, or totally mucked — even if it still seems to be working. Do not underestimate the speed with which a few cold starts on a few cold mornings can kill a weak battery.

For maximum peace of mind, have your car’s battery scanned before the cold weather arrives, and replace it accordingly.

Sometimes, checking your battery means taking it out of your vehicle and bringing it to a place like an auto-parts store. Many service centers can run a battery check for you in minutes without even removing the battery from your car.

“We usually check the battery condition when performing an oil change at no extra charge,” automotive service technician Paul Kennaley says. “Customers appreciate it and it takes less than a minute. Plus, it could save you a major headache on those cold winter mornings.”





Clean It: Like us humans, batteries can accumulate disgusting levels of unsightly gunk if not cleaned regularly. Because of science and chemicals, the terminals of the battery (which are the metal bits that poke out of the top or side to facilitate an electrical connection) are magnets for this sort of gunk. Mostly, visible battery gunk is made of dirt, salts, crusty yuckiness, and some byproducts of gasses formed inside of your battery as they escape near the terminals.

Pop your hood and look at the battery terminals. If you see a crystallized mess that resembles a crust of salt, then you’ll want to clean your battery terminals pronto. Not only can the accumulations be harmful to your battery and things near it, it can also cause your battery to discharge even when the vehicle isn’t’ running. If you see this sort of corrosion, chances are that your battery is slowly being drained at all times. With winter approaching, your battery needs all the help it can get — and if it’s being discharged by a buildup of semi-conductive crudsicles, you’ll need to do something about it.

Easy solution here. You’ll need a battery terminal cleaning solution (available from your favorite auto parts store), and a wire brush. Follow the instructions on the cleaner, which is typically applied after the battery cables are removed for safety. Brush the corrosion away with the wire brush to reveal shiny, clean terminals.



You’ll also want to spray some battery terminal lube onto the terminals to help fend off future buildup. If you’re doing this job yourself, be sure to reconnect the battery cables snugly, ensuring there’s a good connection. Clean and lubricate the battery cable connections, too.

If you’re not comfortable handling this maintenance on your own, ask your favorite mechanic for help, perhaps while your car is in for a pre-winter oil change.

Help It: There are a few ways you can help your battery to make its life less miserable when the weather turns cold.

First, consider the use of a trickle charger, which can be purchased on the cheap from your favorite auto parts store. You hook it up to your battery and plug it into an electrical outlet when you won’t be driving for a while. The trickle charger works to maintain a full battery charge and is a great idea to use when you won’t be driving for a few days or more — and especially if you’ve got a modern car with high-draw electronics.



Second, consider using synthetic motor oil if you don’t already, even just for the colder months. Synthetic motor oil is pricey and may be overkill for some vehicles, but using it makes it much easier for your battery to turn your engine over in extreme cold. This can help ensure your car starts every time and doesn’t kill your battery in the process.

Third tip? Use the block heater. Plug your car in when it’s going to get really cold and your engine will be toasty warm under the hood. Starting a warm engine is much easier on your battery than starting a cold one, which means a higher likelihood of cold-start success in the middle of February and less drain on your battery throughout winter.

Here’s a final tip: if you do need to jump start your car to get it started this winter, be sure to drive it a good while before turning it off again to help the battery recharge. Do not turn the engine off again until your parked at a safe location where you won’t freeze if your ride fails to restart.


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The Best Booster Cables for Winter Driving

The Best Booster Cables for Winter Driving


Feb 15, 2018




There’s a bit of twisted humour in the timing of when things fail.

The furnace always calls it quits on the coldest day of the year. Air conditioning bites the dust just as the heat of the summer reaches its peak. In the same way, car batteries seem to fail in the coldest months of the year. Perhaps a smaller passenger has left an interior light on, and the battery has been drained. In both cases, starting a cold engine is a tough task. When a dead battery inevitably happens, you need a boost.

Predicting when you’ll need a boost is impossible, so it’s better to be prepared with booster cables on board. But what are some of the best things to look for when picking your booster cable? There are a lot of great options available, and most will do the trick. User ratings online can provide some indication of how good they are, and Amazon still has the best collection of user ratings online.

Consider how your booster cables will be stored. These long cables can be cumbersome if not stored well, or damage to the rubber insulation could occur. Look for cables that come with their own carrying case. This is a really easy way to keep them tucked away. Winter temperatures can make cheap rubber insulation brittle, causing booster cables to be stiff and difficult to use. More expensive cables use special compounds that endure cold weather. All weather resistance is a must, though widely available.




A good value level example is the Capri Tools CP21081 Booster Cable. This booster kit includes a carrying bag and good UL rating for all-weather performance. There are other considerations, too, like the length. At 16 feet, this is an ideal length for parking lot boosting. Cold weather boosting requires a lot of crank power. In automobiles, this is generated using a lot of current, measured as amps.



In order to accommodate this increase in electrical flow, booster cables should have bigger cables. AWG, American Wire Gauge, is a standard that helps identify how big a cable is. The smaller the number, the bigger the cable. The Cartman Booster 16-foot booster cables offer four AWG wires. These wires are ideal for high cranking vehicles and designed to endure extreme winter conditions. Larger wires also stand up to wear and tear.



Large vehicles, like full-size SUVs and trucks, produce a lot more current than smaller vehicles. Additional length is required to reach boost points. At 25 feet, the ABN Jumper Cable features low-temperature performance, and impressive 600 amp capacity through two AWG wires.

With the right booster cables, even a dead battery won’t keep you off the road for long.


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Update April 2018

Nitro Odyssey Battery


UPDATE APRIL 2018


On my previous post of 10-11-2015 My MOPAR Battery Experience

Back in June 2012 after over 4 years of use I decided to replace my original equipment battery in my Nitro. Nothing was really wrong but I knew it was time.

I told my Dealership Service Advisor to install the best battery they had, for a replacement. They installed a MOPAR 72 Series part # BB034600AA (600CCA) battery at a cost of $159.95.

Fast forward to October 2015

I went out to start my very low mileage Nitro that had been parked in the garage, and to my surprise it did not start but made a strange short clicking noise before going completely dead. My first reaction was that it was a very costly to replace TIPM (Totally Integrated Power Module) Issue, since I had not had any battery issues.

I got out my battery charge and indeed the battery was completely dead so maybe it just needed to be recharged. The next day the battery did show it had been charged, but not fully? The Nitro again would not start and went completely dead again, so I left the charge on for another day.

Same issue again, so I used my Wife’s vehicle and a set of jumper cables inside the garage and to my delight my Nitro started! I then was more that sure that my new 3 years plus MOPAR battery was defective.

I have replaced numerous failed batteries over the years and nearly all went bad in the summer or fall, NOT in the winter.

I kept the vehicle running for several hours backing the vehicle outside the garage and faced it toward the street in case it would require a tow or another jump, before turning it off.

I decided to take it to my Dealership since no matter what was wrong it had to be repaired anyway and when I attempted to start it just barely started.

I drove it to the Dealership and explained that I was 99% sure it had a bad battery under warranty and left it running and told them if they shut it off it would not start! I asked and explained that if it was going to cost me more than the cost of a new battery, to diagnostic to just install a new one.

The Service Advisor looked it up and said if the battery was bad the pro-rate would be $80 to replace. She explained that if the battery was not defective there would be a labor charge so I said O.K. I left the vehicle overnight since I was told they cannot check a battery if driven in for around 45 minutes.

She called the next morning and left a message stating I was right that the battery was indeed bad and that the charges were $80.00 for a total of $120.00 including labor!

I called her back and said “what was the deal with any labor charge”? Her response was it was figured by the Chrysler Warranty Employee. I told her to recheck that, but when I went to pick up the Nitro the amount was the same. She explained that they had run this claim again and that Chrysler would not pay the labor.

In a calm voice I told her that no one in town would have charged me $160 in the first place for a battery and that Auto Zone would have checked my battery for free, charged it for free if needed, and installed a new or replacement battery for no labor charges! Do you really want to lose a long time customer for $40? The charge was removed.

CONCLUSION

I purchased a 72-month MOPAR battery that lasted about what is expected just over 3 years. The extra expense must be to cover the prorate warranty expense. I would have save I suspect If I had just purchased a 36-month battery originally and then another in three years (before it went bad) as others have suggested and forget about a long-term prorated battery.
I had stated that there seems to be no reason to purchase any expensive battery for your Nitro just replace it every 3 years and forget about any pro-rate warranty.

Well this past week without any warning I went to start my Nitro and found the battery too low to start it. It is pretty hard to run your Nitro battery down by leaving a door open on anything on since they are equipped with a factory Battery Saver Circuit that cuts the power off.

Anyway, it didn’t take 3 years for this best most expensive 72 month pro-rate MOPAR Dealer installed battery to become NOT dependable! I hooked up my dependable battery trickle charger and in 30 minutes I attempted to start my Nitro and it started just fine.

I had several appointments already planned for the day so I got my Wife’s spare key for the Nitro and decided to just leave it running all the time I was gone from home (about 3 hours). I watched where I parked to allow access in case I would need a jump if it died. As usual I found you cannot lock yourself out of a Nitro with the engine running using your remote but using your spare key and manually locking your doors, the doors can be opened using a key.

I used my original post shown above and clicked on it to find Amazon had 6 of this battery in stock (they did not carry the correct one when my Wife’s Ford needed my first ODYSSEY battery order) and receive it two days later.

Yes, maybe after charging this MOPAR battery it many have been good for a few months or a year more? I know from past experiences it could have failed again anytime and I may not have been at home! Pass on that pro-rated replacement battery too.



Nitro Battery Install


Watch Battery Replacement: 2007-2011 Dodge Nitro

The plastic mounting hold-down bracket is on the front lower of the battery and is secured with a 10MM bolt. You will need a ratchet, long extension and a 10MM socket to remove. Don’t worry about loosing this bolt since it should have a star washer holding onto this bracket. I found this bracket not secured when Dealership had installed previous battery.

REMOVING OLD BATTERY

You will need a 10MM wrench to disconnect the battery terminals from your old battery. Remove the positive (left side) first.
I used a battery carrier to remove the old defective battery from the Nitro.
I transferred the felt wrap from the Dealer installed MOPAR battery to the new ODYSSEY battery.

The new ODDYSSY 34-PC1500T for the Nitro is really heavy at 49.5 pounds but has a carry handle built in to it.

INSTALLING NEW BATTERY

You will need the Date Code from the shipping box for registration plus the 14 -digit serial number. Also located on the battery.
Re-install front hold down bracket after placing new battery in your Nitro. The slots in that bracket face forward. You may need addition lighting to see.

Reattach the battery terminals starting with the positive (left) first.

Battery is already charged but I attached my trickle charger and brought it to full charge in 30 minutes or less.

Register you new ODYSSEY battery at ODYSSEY battery - Official Manufacturer's Site under the Support tab.

Hopefully your town has a free recycled drop-off site like mine to dispose of your defective old battery.

Battery issues on both cars are now in the rear-view mirror I believe with up to a 10 year service life on their battery.
 

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Latest Technologies Affect Battery

OEM Battery Trends: How the Latest Technologies Affect Battery Sales and Service

May 18, 2018


While the latest high-tech amenities are adding numerous safety, comfort and convenience benefits to a vehicle, they also are creating more battery-related issues for vehicle owners.

J.D. Power identified the trend in its 2017 Vehicle Dependability Study. In a summary of its findings, the global consumer research company stated: “New to the top 10 list of problems reported in 2017 is battery failure. In fact, 44% more owners report a battery failure this year than in 2016. Batteries are the most frequently replaced component not related to normal wear and tear in three-year-old vehicles at 6.1% — up 1.3 percentage points from 2016.”

The increase in battery-related complaints is continuing in 2018, according to Jason Searl of Johnson Controls International plc. Battery performance is a leading source of consumer dissatisfaction with vehicles, and it has been increasing each year as vehicles become more complex.

“A shop owner can offer consumers more value by helping them choose the right battery technology for the vehicle they drive, how they drive it, and where they drive it,” says Searl, who is vice president, start-stop battery and products for Johnson Controls’ Power Solutions division.

Everything from the geographic area in which the vehicle operates to the aftermarket gadgets a consumer adds to a vehicle affects the performance of the battery installed by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

Searl is one of several experts who shared their perspectives on what the latest developments in battery technologies mean for independent shops. The others are John Munsell, product manager for General Motor Corp.’s ACDelco brand, and Hayley Horn, consumer insights manager for Interstate Batteries Inc.

MTD: What is coming down the pipeline for battery technology from the OEs in the next 18 months or so?
 

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How to change your car battery without losing your radio code and dashboard setting.


Dec 10, 2011
How to change your car battery without losing your radio code, dashboard and electric seat setting.
 

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Memory Saver (3Meter) with Alligator Clip-On 12V Car Battery

VSTM OBD II Vehicle ECU Emergency Power Supply Cable Memory Saver (3Meter) with Alligator Clip-On 12V Car Battery Cigarette Lighter Power Extension Socket





Replacing a car battery on older vehicles used to be simple!! You unhook the old battery and install the new one.

Late-model vehicles, however, rely on computers that operate everything from the stereo to the transmission. If power is lost to the computer, the settings are lost and have to reset to default. That means the vehicle may feel different when driven, and you may have to enter a security code to access the stereo.

Using this simple memory saving device when replacing your car battery will help you avoid these problems. This device can work with any 12V DC power source, including jump starter, DC 12V Lead-acid battery, or another car’s DC 12V power outlet.


Product Description and Operation:

Powered by any jump starter with a 12V outlet into an OBD II Memory Saver.

Interface connector between a 12V DC power source and vehicle's OBD II port.

Preserves vehicle codes and electronic presets.

Replacing a car battery on older vehicles used to be simple!! You unhook the old battery and install the new one. Late-model vehicles, however, rely on computers that operate everything from the stereo to the transmission. If power is lost to the computer, the settings are lost and have to reset to default. That means the vehicle may feel different when driven, and you may have to enter a security code to access the stereo. Using this simple memory saving device when replacing your car battery will help you avoid these problems.

This device can work with any 12V DC power source, including jump starter, DC 12V Lead-acid battery, or another car’s DC 12V power outlet.

As our device with 3 meter cable, it will be a convenient way, should you not have jump starter (or Lead-acid battery) on hand, and the device can also get the 12v power supply from cigarette lighter of another good car. Just insert the Cigarette lighter plug to this car and insert into 16 pin plug to the OBD port of the car you want to replace battery. And now you can replace the battery.

As typical OBD Auto Memory saver not have Anti-protection on Incorrect Polarity (AIP), so that in case a wrong polarity power input, it will probably damage your auto ECU (Electronic Control Unit). For our Newly Upgraded Version OBD Auto Memory Saver, it has been added the Safety Function of AIP; In case a power input with incorrect polarity, AIP function automatically put into effect (electric power can’t be transmitted to your car, in case wrong polarity power input); as well, led light on memory saver will not light up. So that your car ECU and other electric devices are fully under protection during a wrong power connection.

It works on any vehicle with OBDII which is 1996 and later. It is not needed or required to change your battery. It is used to keep the memory of you radio setting and other memory computer controlled devices on the vehicle (EMCU for example.) It is used as a convenience as to not erase the memory. I used it to keep my computer controlled climate control memory because one of my 3 actuators would loose its memory and go into a failed default setting after changing the battery. When it failed it would only blow air through the defrost and the GM dealer is the only way to get it calibrated again. It worked for me so i didn't have to spend money and the dealership and it also kept all my radio settings so i didn't have to reset the time and memory stations and even the radio equalizer settings.

It is very easy to use, instructions shouldn’t be necessary; plug into your OBD2 connector (typically located under the left side of dashboard) and connect the other side to a 12VDC source before disconnecting the vehicle’s battery. After the vehicle’s battery is reconnected unplug the memory saver from the 12VDC source and then unplug from the OBD2 connector. Hope this helps, good luck.
 
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