Preparing for Old Man Winter

Preparing for Old Man Winter

No matter where you live, there are steps you can take to help your customers prepare for the change of seasons.

Motor Age — Barrow, Alaska, generally is recognized as the coldest spot in the United States. Its average temperature is a balmy 11.7 degrees Fahrenheit and has a recorded best low temperature of -56 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other side of the coin, the world record for high temperature is 134 degrees Fahrenheit, and a few cities in California were close to breaking that mark during the heat waves experienced this past summer. And while this article is going to talk about preparing for the low side of the scale, many of the tips shared apply equally to hot or cold climates.

Let’s Start With The Battery

The battery might start the car fine while the weather is warm, but any weakness in it will be magnified when the mercury heads south.

A battery provides electromotive potential via a chemical reaction, and that reaction slows as temperature drops and increases as temperatures rise. Compared to a standard temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit, a battery that hits freezing will typically produce 20 percent less energy, and at -22 degrees, the capacity can be cut in half.

But it’s not just the cold. According to a 2010 Battery Council International (BCI) failure mode study, even though batteries have become more heat tolerant over the last decade or so, heat can still have a drastic impact on the life of the battery. Back in 2000, a change of just 12 degrees Fahrenheit took roughly one year off of the battery’s estimated lifespan. In 2010, it takes a 22-degree change to have the same impact. Overall, improvements in battery design have resulted in an average lifespan of roughly 55 months (compared with an average of 41 months during in the 2000 study). And you might be surprised to learn that batteries in the South are used up (with an average of 47 months) long before their northern cousins (averaging 59 months).

To help make sure your customer’s battery will deliver as promised, perform a complete battery/charging system test. All you’ll need to do a complete set of tests is a digital multimeter (DMM) and an amp clamp.

Source: Motor Age

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About the Author

Nick Taylor

Nick Taylor is the SureTrack Community Administrator and a Senior Applications Specialist at Mitchell 1 with over 25 years of experience with electronic repair data systems. Nick previously worked in the automotive dismantling and engine rebuilding industries.