23 April 2013 – The last thing you want on a cold morning is to turn the ignition key of your motor vehicle and be greeted by a dull, dead click that says the battery isn’t going to do anything for you today. Even a relatively new battery that works well and delivers full power when the weather’s a cosy 25°C can suddenly become cranky at chilly temperatures.

If your battery is a few years old – be warned. Unlike other car parts, the battery – rather like an aging film star – has a tendency to keep looking and sounding good even when it’s just about to cash in its chips.

While batteries are now much more reliable, experts at Battery Centre recommend that motorists come in for a quick smart test check, to find out whether their battery will see them through the winter. Sometimes a battery is blamed when your car may have another hidden electrical problem, for example a tracking device, alarm or immobiliser that is depleting the battery charge. Or the battery may be about to reach the end of its useful life. The Battery Centre will test your battery free of charge and advise whether the battery – or any other part of the car’s electrical system – is at fault.

If the battery needs replacing, bear in mind that the market is  flooded with relatively cheap foreign imports that may not necessarily carry a guarantee and the supplier may not even be around if you experience problems with your battery. You may also be tempted to replace your old unit with a reconditioned one. Both of these options can be problematic. The price difference between a reconditioned battery and a new one does not justify the risks involved in the cheaper option.

A good quality, reliable battery fitted in a passenger car without extra accessories will perform faithfully. But if you’ve added accessories such as spotlights or a big sound system, don’t be surprised if you need a bigger capacity battery. A bigger battery doesn’t cost much more. However, in the first instance always fit at least the size battery specified by the motor manufacturer.

All locally produced batteries have a 12 month guarantee, but they can be relied on to last for several years under normal operating conditions provided they are properly maintained.

Some things you should never do:

  • Never add acid or additives to a battery.
  • Never use a naked flame to look inside the battery cells.
  • Never create a short circuit between the two terminals to check if the battery still has power – the sparks could cause an explosion.