With the nights drawing in and the colder weather on its way, it’s important to make sure your vehicle battery is in peak condition, so you don’t get stuck out in the cold with a flat battery. A recent CTEK survey estimates that as many as 25% of vehicles have a battery that could potentially fail during the current cold snap – placing car owners at severe risk of breakdown, just when they need their car the most. A further 32% of vehicles are at some risk of battery failure if action is not taken to maintain the condition of the battery. This is because battery performance can reduce by 35% when temperatures hit freezing and fall by as much as 50% if temperatures go even colder.   

Annual figures released by leading breakdown companies place battery failure as the single biggest cause of breakdowns during the winter. At freezing temperatures, an engine’s starting power requirement can increase by as much as 250% when compared to that of a summer’s day. Furthermore with additional drains on the battery e.g. heated screens and seats, headlights and an increase in short journeys during the winter, the battery is being placed under a huge amount of strain – it’s no wonder breakdown companies are so busy! 

Every time the vehicle is started, 150 – 350A is drawn from the battery and if you are only making a small trip, the alternator won’t have the time or indeed the capability to replace the draw on the battery. Over multiple drops the charge within the battery will become lower and lower, placing the vehicle at risk of breakdown. 

So, don’t forget to regularly charge your vehicle battery over the winter months to protect against getting stuck out in the cold. Many battery chargers lack the safety and sophistication required to charge batteries to 100% capacity, and one aspect of this is the colder weather. In the cold weather, the battery electrolyte is denser, which can significantly increase battery charge times or result in the battery remaining undercharged.  

A smart battery charger such as the CTEK MXS 5.0, with an in-built temperature sensor, can safely bring the battery up to 100% charge, whatever the weather. It works with all 12V lead acid batteries. Using advanced, patented technology to measure the battery’s power and health, it will deliver the right amount of power to maximise the performance and lifetime of the battery. 

It’s worth remembering that as vehicle technology becomes increasingly complex, so does the requirement for greater support from the battery so that it can provide optimum power to the vehicle – it is the heart of the vehicle and without a regular charge, with a good quality battery charger, you are at increased risk of breakdown. 

We’ve developed some hints and tips to help protect against winter breakdowns – click here to take a look