Avoid battery breakdowns in the cold & how to jump start a car

Tips on how to look after your battery

Cold weather hurts a battery. How? It slows the chemical reactions inside, and at 0 degrees centigrade, a car battery can lose 35% of its effectiveness according to the GEM Motoring Assist breakdown and recovery organisation.

Your battery’s ability to hold charge will also be reduced. If when you try to start the car, you hear no sound at all, either the battery is completely dead or the connection has come loose. If it’s not the battery, consult a mechanic.

Keyless entry systems including remote control unlocking key fob, might also stop working. There is usually an access key in the fob and instructions in the owners manual about how to get access to the car. However that’s probably also locked in the car, so you’ll have to call the manufacturer helpline!

If there is a noise but the car won’t start, the battery is probably flat. If you have a set of jump leads and a second vehicle available to assist, you could jump start the car.

Switch off both cars and make sure they are not touching each other. Connect the cable to positive terminal of the weak battery then the positive terminal of the strong battery. Make sure the exposed parts of the cable clips never come into contact with each other.

Connect the negative terminal of the strong battery and then any available earthing connection (metal or exposed bolt) in the engine compartment of the car that needs assistance.

Switch on the fully charged car first, wait a few minutes then try starting the car with the flat battery. Once it starts, leave both cars running for a few moments.

Ideally switch off both cars before removing the cables. Remove the negative cable from the car that needed assistance and then the car with the strong battery. Then remove the positive cable from the strong battery and finally from the weak battery.

Car batteries tend to last around five years on average depending on the environment and conditions. In the hot conditions of the Middle East for example, they usually have to be changed every two-three years.

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