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Experts: The cold weather could be damaging your car's battery

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Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Thursday, February 20, 2014, 2:59 -

It has been a brutal winter across the country for motorists, and it's long from over.

Systems are currently targeting Ontario, Atlantic Canada and Quebec -- and that means slippery roads, poor visibility and dead car batteries in extreme cold weather.

When extreme weather hits, it's common for roadside assistance programs to see a substanital spike in calls - many of them battery-related. 

The weather can be taxing on a car's battery, which will typically last between three and five years. While there's no way to prolong them indefinitely, Paul Datzkiw, supervisor of approved auto repair services for CAA South Central Ontario, told The Weather Network in 2013 that there are things that can be done to maximize a battery's lifespan. 


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“It's a good idea to be aware of how your machine operates,” he says. “People tend to think that the larger the battery the better, but that isn't necessarily the case. It's best to determine how much amperage your car requires, and choose a battery of that size. If you choose one that has a larger amperage than your car needs, it might not last as long.” 

A car's battery will drain naturally over time. Certain accessories, like the clock and alarm, require constant power. This is called a “parastic drain” and it is normal, in moderation. “Add-on” accessories, like heavy-duty speakers, can cause excessive drain and lead to a dead battery. 

Leaving a car's headlights on overnight or a door ajar for a few hours can have a similar effect. 

In fact, car accessories may be one of the main reasons why batteries drain in extreme weather. 

“If you're stuck in stop and go traffic, try to turn off as many accessories as you can, while still feeling comfortable,” Datzkiw says.“You don't want to leave your heater, seat warmers and rearview defrosters on all the time.”

NEXT PAGE: PROLONG YOUR CAR'S BATTERY


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