4. TEST YOUR BATTERY
Winter is a proper killer when it comes to car batteries because, even when they’re brand new, the cold weather makes them less effective. It’s what the AA calls the ‘triple- whammy’ effect – the temperature drop always reduces a battery’s power output, it also reduces the ability to accept a charge so it doesn’t recharge quite as easily while you’re driving. Obviously the last whammy is the fact that it’s winter, so you’ll be constantly using all sorts of electrical stuff like blowers, heated screens, wipers and lights.
Basically, if you’ve got an old battery that’s already on its way out, you just don’t stand a chance and that’s compounded if you’re leaving your car unused for any length of time. In other words, your best bet is to make sure your battery doesn’t need replacing before it goes wrong.
A pro-style drop-tester can be had for as little as 25-quid and what they do is put a load across the unit to check if it holds the charge effectively, if it says your battery is okay, then one of these can save you a fortune. Most garages also offer a free battery test service using one of these.
In the meantime try to reduce the load when the weather drops by turning off any electrical items and dipping the clutch while starting. It can make more difference than you think.