SURE STARTS 101

Among the concerns of parents of fledgling teenage drivers is whether they’re vulnerable to car trouble away from home. Parents can’t always take the responsibility of the cars their kids are driving, especially considering that young peoples’ priorities may divert maintenance and repair funds to other things. Considering that the output of a healthy battery at 80 degrees will have dropped to 65% at freezing and, when the temperature dips to zero, it has only 40% of its power.

Compounding the situation, oil flows less freely in extreme cold, increasing starting resistance. Consequently, a strong battery becomes more critical.

Being stranded in the cold with a car that won’t start, which can be a nightmare, need not happen, says the Car Care Council.

No-starts, the most common reason for motorists to call for emergency road service, usually can be attributed to a weak or dead battery, faulty electrical connections or a problem in the fuel system.

When a battery is on its last legs, it usually gives warning signals. You can stay in control of the situation by making the decision to have the electrical system checked and, if necessary, a new battery installed while the old one still has some life in it. But what to buy?

Car Care Council recommends replacing your battery with one that’s at least as good as the one that came with the vehicle. In this case the term good means one that has the cranking power (that’s starting ooomph) and reserve capacity so that it isn’t just riding on the edge of failure if you happen to leave a light on. Check the ratings.

If you’re driving an older vehicle, remember that it deserves just as good a battery as a late model. Also, if you’ve added electrical accessories, they may put greater demands on the battery.

Consider the warranty, too. How long does it cover full replacement and what is the total warranty coverage? Finally, when in doubt about your selection, ask the advice of your service shop or your auto supply store.

For more information on automotive maintenance, repair and enhancements, log on http://www.carcarecouncil.org/.

Or is your problem nothing more than corrosion?
The Council further suggests that if the engine fails to start because of what seems to be a dead battery, the culprit might be no more than a corroded terminal. Corrosion, which appears like a greenish white deposit, serves as an insulator between the terminal and the cable. Sometimes this condition can be corrected, at least temporarily, with a sharp tap with a soft, non-metallic object such as block of wood. Even the heel of a shoe, removed, of course, will jar loose the corrosive build-up enough to re-establish the connection.

For more information on automotive maintenance, repair and enhancements, log on http://www.carcarecouncil.org/.

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