Q: “Glenn – I was on the phone last weekend with my father who lives in Florida and he asked me if I “winterized” my car including having the battery checked. I told him my car was fine, but it got me to thinking – how do I know my battery is good?” -Tammy in Old Town
A: Great question Tammy! We are definitely in that time of year and we usually see more battery problems and questions in January and February than in any other months. At least you’re being pro-active about the situation and not waiting for that first morning when it dips down to 15 degrees below zero… and the car won’t start!
I can remember when I was first learning about cars and my Dad used to fill my head with all kinds of information about the what was the worse sound a car could make. Then my Mom took me aside and told me, “Glenn – the worse sound a car can make is nothing… when it won’t start!” I think she’s right! The ironic thing is a battery is an easy item to check and keep tabs on, but most people still don’t even think about it until it’s too late.
Tammy, most batteries are under the hood and fairly accessible. Only a few makes & models have the battery in a different location like the trunk or under the rear seat. If you have a car with a battery in a funky location, call us – we’ll take care of you. Now, most manufacturers batteries last 3-5 years. Most aftermarket batteries (like the ones you find in auto parts stores) last 5-7 years.
Here’s a few things you can check in regards to your battery;
- First, there should be a sticker on the top of the battery that shows the month and year of either manufacturing or installation date. If the battery is more than 5 years old, you may want to consider replacing it.
- Second, there are two terminals (or posts) either on top of the battery or on the side. These terminals should be free of a bluish-white powdery substance. This is corrosion and will hurt your battery’s performance. You can purchase battery terminal spray at any auto parts store. Just spray it on, let it sit for a few minutes, then wash it off. The water will not harm the battery or its related parts.
- Third, there will be wire cables (one red, one black) that clamp onto or screw into the terminals or posts. These should be in good condition – free from corrosion and/or rust, they should not be frayed, etc. If any of these symptoms are present, please consider replacing them.
We can also test your battery (and related electrical system) for you, if you’d like, Tammy! Please call or drop by to see our Bumper2Bumper service department (http://bangorcarcare.com/service.asp ) and we’ll take care of you. We have the latest computerized testing equipment, and all our batteries carry a warranty! Plus, you’ll also receive friendly and courteous service – that won‘t leave you out in the cold!