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Cold battery causes crank-ing issues

January 7, 2014


With the temperature reaching below freezing, auto care professionals are reminding people to get their cars checked out to make sure they’ll be able to perform in these conditions.

“The biggest thing you can do is to get a 50 point inspection,” said Hank Lininger, an auto technician at NAPA Auto Parts. “They’ll make sure that your brakes, battery, cooling system and antifreeze tests out right, which can all possibly cause problems in weather like this.”

Lininger said that the biggest problem he sees in the winter is car batteries not working properly due to dropping temperatures.

“Anytime you get under 32 degrees, you start losing cranking amps, and the older the battery, the less cranking amps it’s gonna carry,” he said. “It’s weak at 32 degrees, but once you get under 0 it really starts dropping off.”

Unless you get your battery checked regularly or have regular maintenance on your vehicle, most people won’t know that their battery is bad, Lininger said. Under normal conditions, the battery will function properly, but older batteries are weaker and can malfunction when temperatures reach below freezing.

The most common way to tell if a battery is going bad is if you notice a hard or slow crank when you start up your vehicle.

Lininger said that any auto parts store or repair shop can test and/or replace an old battery. They can also give you a read out of how much life is left in your battery.

Nick Reithman, shop manager at RRR Tire Service, also recommends getting tires checked before any bad weather hits.

“Have the tires inspected or at least make sure that they’re inflated properly,” he said. “If the low pressure light comes on, make sure you test it so you don’t get stranded somewhere.”

Reithman said that problems with windshield wipers and wiper fluid freezing up are the second most common problem he sees in the winter.

“Really the only thing you can do when that happens is to let your vehicle warm up,” Reithman said. “Simply just leaving your motor running tends to warm up the engine cavity, and a lot of times that will fix it.”

Lininger said that there are certain wiper fluids that are meant to perform better in the freezing cold. The best windshield wiper fluid is ‘minus 30,’ which is not supposed to freeze even if the weather gets below negative 30 degrees.

For the full story, see the Tuesday, Jan. 7 edition of the Wapakoneta Daily News.

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