What do you suppose is the most often recycled item in the world?
When posed with that question, I guessed paper. Nope. How about plastic bottles? No. Glass bottles? Nah.
The answer turns out to be the 12-volt battery. That’s the battery used in nearly all of the approximately 70 million motor vehicles built each year around the world.
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that approximately 100 million auto batteries are replaced annually in the United States. And an amazing 99 percent of them are recycled.
While that is good news for the environment, having a dead car battery is anything but good news for drivers.
Today I’m going to provide you with tips on winterizing your car. Just in case you haven’t done it yet. Then I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It’s about how to never again worry about getting stranded with a dead battery.
Extreme Temperatures Wreak Havoc on Batteries
First, let’s look at why car batteries die. If you live in a hot climate, your car battery is more likely to die during the summer than the winter.
But since 70 percent of Americans live in areas of the country affected by snow and cold, I’ve chosen wintertime to discuss this topic.
Lead-acid batteries, such as the one that’s usually located under your hood, are designed to work in temperatures ranging from very cold to very hot.
But their capacity is reduced from 20 to 50 percent by extremely cold temperatures. High temperatures actually increase the battery’s capacity. But that’s not good, either. Too much of an increase in capacity actually decreases a battery’s lifespan.
Fully Charge That Battery
A weak battery starts to freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. But a fully-charged battery won’t freeze until the temperature hits minus-76 degrees Fahrenheit.
So, the obvious solution is to keep your car battery charged. How does one do that?
One option is to use a trickle charger periodically. But the easier way for most folks is to have their vehicles serviced regularly.
A trusted mechanic will be able to test your battery load, check the electrolyte level and make sure the connections are free of corrosion.
7 Winterizing Tips for Your Vehicle
Here are seven tips for winterizing your car:
Have your battery checked by a trained mechanic. He or she will make sure it’s in top condition to handle the winter. Or they may tell you that you need a new one.
Make sure your tires have enough tread to handle slippery roads. Nearly bald tires may get your vehicle from here to there in dry conditions. But they’re a death trap on a snow-covered road.
Check your tires’ air pressure. Cold weather can cause air pressure to drop. For safe traction, you want properly inflated tires.
Ensure that your anti-freeze mixture is about 50 percent anti-freeze and 50 percent water. That way, the radiator coolant won’t freeze.
Cold weather reduces your oil’s effectiveness, so change your oil. A properly lubricated engine will run best. You should use a thinner oil in the winter and a thicker oil in the summer. Your owner’s manual will let you know the proper viscosity (thickness or thinness) of oil for your car.
Change your wiper blades and fill your wiper fluid compartment. Being able to clear rain and snow off your windshield is crucial. Salt on the road gives you better traction by melting ice. But it can smear a windshield, so wiper fluid is essential.
Make sure your defrosters in front and back are working properly. When a windshield fogs up, driving suddenly becomes very dangerous. You have to be able to see clearly through your front and back windshields in order to stay safe.
Pack That Trunk as Well
Finally, while this might seem obvious, always turn your headlights and interior lights off when you turn off your car engine.
When the engine is off, all plugged-in electronics, including your GPS and cellphones, will drain your battery.
Of course, no matter how good your battery once was, everything dies eventually. The key is to be as prepared as possible in case that happens to you.
If you deal with extreme winter weather where you live, make sure to have a blanket and a heavy coat in your trunk. Not to mention water bottles, non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries and other items.
The Little Secret I Promised
Now for that secret item I mentioned early on. This could actually save your life if you are ever stranded with a dead battery.
The #1 item we recommend you keep in your car is the Patriot Power Hub.
This 1lb. device can quickly and easily jump start your car… without having to ask anybody for help and without bulky and dangerous jumper cables.
And it has a few other tricks up its sleeve to keep you safe too.
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