Kelly's Garage - Active Green and Ross - December 2014

 

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We are well into the holiday season and I hope that it has been good for everyone. Since we didn’t get an ice storm like we did last year,  I think we are all in good shape:) It will be New Years Day when you receive this newsletter and I want everyone to be safe!  If you are driving and plan to be drinking it goes without saying to either have a designated driver, stay over or take a taxi. Happy New Year everyone and see you in 2015!

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Vehicles switched to 12-volt batteries like we still use in our vehicles today in the 1950’s.

This month's topic: Batteries

Every time we go out to our vehicle we put the key in the ignition and expect it to start. What we don’t really think about is the battery that the vehicle needs to start the engine. Fortunately, every time you take your vehicle to Active Green and Ross for service they’re checking your battery! In fact, the results are often stapled to the invoice or work order. The average battery lasts around 3 years, but having said that your battery can last longer than 3 years.

What shortens your battery life:

  1. Short trips can shorten battery life. A short trip is considered less than 20 minutes, which doesn’t give the battery enough time to fully recharge.
  2. Periods of inactivity are also hard on the battery. If you park your vehicle for the winter it’s a good idea to buy a battery maintainer. It usually plugs into your cigarette lighter and will need an electrical source.
  3. Extreme temperatures are also hard on batteries. Summer is usually the toughest on your battery, but extreme cold can also shorten its life.

Signs that your battery needs some attention:

  1. Slow engine cranking. Listen to your car. When you turn the key in the ignition you may notice that the engine is slower to turn over.
  2. Corrosion builds up around the terminals. When you open your hood to put in windshield washer fluid this year, have a look at the battery terminals. Sometimes you will see green crud, which could indicate the battery is leaking. Baking soda and water can clean this but make sure to wear gloves for protection from the sulphuric acid.
  3. Swelling of your battery or bloating is a sign of excessive heat and decreases it’s life.

When it’s time to replace your battery, your Active Green and Ross shop will make sure that it is replaced with the battery that provides the correct cold cranking amps (CCA) for your vehicle. The CCA of a battery is how much energy your vehicle needs to start at 0 degrees Celsius.

If for some reason you get stranded somewhere because of a dead battery I am going to write the directions here on how to boost a battery. Everyone should have a set of booster cables in their vehicle, unfortunately many people don’t. Don’t let that be you. Another option is a booster pack, but I don’t know many people who keep one in their vehicle, but perhaps for home.

How to boost a battery:

  1. Make sure both vehicles are turned off first.
  2. Red on dead battery
  3. Red on good battery
  4. Black on good battery
  5. Ground out the black on dead battery. This means do not connect it to the negative post. Instead find something that is metal to attach it to. This will keep the energy from potentially arcing and causing damage to your vehicle’s computer.
  6. Start the good car
  7. Start the dead car

Depending how dead your battery is it may require a few minutes of the good car running to put a bit of a charge into your dead battery. Once it is started you may also have to let it run a few minutes before unhooking the cables. When you unhook the cables, do so in the opposite order that you hooked them up in. One last tip, once you are up and running be sure to drive your vehicle for some time to put a charge in the battery. Don’t drive 5-10 minutes to your destination and shut it down. Chances are you won’t have enough charge in your battery to start it again.

 

This month’s photo:

Booster Cables Booster Pack Battery Maintainer
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