With colder weather just around the corner, now’s the time for us to get ourselves and our cars ready for the winter – including, say vehicle charging specialists CTEK, making sure our car batteries are in tip top condition.
“We may think about checking the car’s oil, brakes, washer fluid and heater, but the humble car battery is often overlooked in our winter preparations,” said Gary Brown, Aftermarket Division and Product Manager for CTEK, the leading global brand in vehicle charging and battery management solutions. “But a few simple checks and a regular maintenance regime is all that’s needed to give you peace of mind that your battery is fit and ready to keep you safely out on the road this season.
“It’s especially important this year too, as many car batteries will already have been placed under additional strain during the Covid restrictions; with increased home working and lots of short trips, we are likely to have drained our car batteries more than usual without us even knowing it.”
An inactive car battery will lose 0.1V of energy every month and, if your parked car is also running an alarm system, onboard computer, remote locking etc, the continual drain on the battery will be much more than that. Nipping out on lots of short journeys, particularly in urban areas, also drains the battery, as it takes 150-350A of battery power just to start the car, and on short trips the alternator won’t have the time or capability to replace this charge. This is especially so if your car has a ‘stop/start’ function. In fact, if you’ve noticed your ‘stop/start’ hasn’t been kicking in lately, this may be because your battery isn’t sufficiently charged, as your car will gradually turn off ‘non essential’ functions to focus the remaining battery charge on keeping the engine turning.
But there’s no need to worry about being left out in the cold this winter, just follow CTEK’s expert tips and you’ll be all set for carefree motoring, wherever you want to go!
Be ready. Don’t leave it too late. Get your car battery into shape before the temperatures start to drop, as it’s much harder to start your car in freezing temperatures. It can take as much as 2.5 times more power to start a cold engine, so while you’re thinking about getting those winter woollies out of the cupboard, check your car battery too and give it some pre-winter TLC. That way, there’ll be no surprises when you take to the road.
Drivers also need to be aware that cold weather conditions can have an adverse effect on car batteries. A battery can lose as much as 35% in performance when temperatures hit freezing, and up to 50% if temperatures sink below that. Drivers should look out for any signs of change – like the way the car starts, or the operation of the electrical system in general – as these can be indications of a weak battery.
Be charged. There is a very fine line between a fully charged battery and a dead one, and even a small drop in charge can compromise battery health. A car battery is fully charged at 12.72V. Below 12.4V, sulphate crystals can build up, degrading the battery and reducing battery capacity. And below 10.4V, the battery may not even start the car at all. Not only that, driving around in your car will only ever charge your battery to 80% capacity so, to top it up to 100%, you’ll always need a battery charger.
A smart battery charger like the CTEK CS ONE uses patented APTOTM ‘adaptive charging’ to check what type of battery you have (lead acid or lithium), establish how much charge is needed and then safely top it up. The CS ONE is designed to be as simple as possible to use; there’s no need to worry about positive and negative terminals – just plug the charger in, pop the two black clamps on either terminal, and the charger will do the rest. For the last 20% of charge, the CS ONE gradually reduces the rate of charge so there’s no danger of overload. It will even tell you when it’s finished, and when your battery has enough charge to start the car.
Be winter smart. Charging your car battery at least once a month prolongs its life by up to three times, so buying a reliable battery charger, and getting yourself into a regular battery maintenance routine, makes perfect sense, year round. Regular charging is even more important in the winter though, as things like heated screens and seats, headlights and an increase in short journeys put additional strain on your battery. And, as battery failure can damage or compromise a vehicle’s electronics, a charger is most certainly a worthwhile investment.
Investing in a charger like the CS ONE, with built-in functionality for both maintenance and troubleshooting, is the smart choice for drivers. The CS ONE does the thinking for you, using adaptive charging to measure your battery’s health then delivering the right level of power to get it working at optimum capacity, with a built-in temperature sensor that automatically adjusts the output voltage for cold conditions. With the CS ONE’s patented technology, you can even recondition your battery to restore battery health.
”Winter driving can be fun, and it can be beautiful,” said Gary. ”And if you take that little bit of time to get yourself and your battery well prepared in advance, then you’re all set to make the most of it.”
For added peace of mind while you’re out on the road, CTEK has developed a portable battery charger, the CS FREE, that you can take with you on your journey. Charge it up, pop it in your glove box and, wherever your travels take you, you never need to worry about being stranded with a flat battery again. The CS FREE uses revolutionary ’adaptive boost technology’ to gently and safely give a flat battery enough charge to get you going in around 15 minutes. This is completely safe for the vehicle’s electronics, unlike most boosters or jump starters that deliver a sharp burst of power to effectively shock the battery into life. The CS FREE even has USB-A and USB-B ports to charge your mobile phone, PC, tablet and other devices.
For more information on winter charging, and what you can do to avoid winter breakdowns, see https://www.ctek.com/uk/winter-charging