As central as your engine and transmission are to your vehicle and as important as your driveline, wheels and tires are for keeping you safe on the road, you aren’t going anywhere without a car battery. This can be tough news in the middle of Canadian winters, so it’s important to keep this component of your vehicle well serviced.

JW Auto Centers is fully equipped to do an assessment on your current battery if you are unsure of how far it’s going to take you. We also have easy access to the battery that is the right fit for your vehicle.

Out of all the things that can go wrong on your vehicle, a battery assessment or replacement is potentially the easiest for a vehicle owner to do themselves. Here’s a simple guide to help you with the process.

Finding Your Battery

Your vehicle’s battery is likely located in either the left or right front corner under the hood of your vehicle just behind either of the headlights. Your battery will have two terminals on top (positive and negative) with cables running to each terminal. Once you’ve identified your battery, take a look at the terminals to see if there is any amount of corrosion built up between the terminals and the cables. Ideally these should be as clean as possible and the cables should be securely fastened to the terminals with no movement. If you’re hesitant to fiddle around with these terminals, don’t hesitate to bring your vehicle in and we can service it for you.

Additionally, you will want to check to see if the battery casing is bloated at all. It should be a perfectly rectangular shape. If it isn’t, it is likely time to replace it. Finally, make sure that the mounting connectors for your battery are tight so that your battery is fastened securely and not jostling around while you are on the road.

Identifying the Age Of Your Battery

Most modern batteries have a lifespan of 3-5 years depending on the manufacturer. If you buy your vehicle new, you can always consult your dealership on the age of your battery or review your last service appointment to see when it was last replaced. If you buy your vehicle used, this can be tougher to identify. In this situation, it’s best to bring your vehicle into JW Auto Centers for a quick assessment where we can give you a timeline on when you might need a new one.

Knowing when your battery is nearing the end of its lifespan can help you significantly. You never want to be trapped on a cold winter day with a dead battery. It’s best to anticipate when you will need to replace your battery, purchase a new one ahead of time and replace it when you start noticing decreased performance. Again, if you need help with this, don’t hesitate to bring it into our auto center.

Plugging Your Vehicle In

Contrary to popular belief, plugging your vehicle in during the cold winter months does not mean plugging your battery in like you would with your iPhone to charge it. Plugging your vehicle in means keeping the engine on your vehicle a little warmer which allows it to start easier.

If you haven’t plugged in your vehicle and you require a “boost” from a friend or acquaintance, having a set of booster cables on hand, especially in the winter, is a very good idea. Booster cables let you borrow the charge from another vehicle to jump start your own vehicle. This is always a bit of a process and a hassle in the winter. Once again, maintaining a good visual inspection of your battery, knowing when it might be time to replace it and being proactive with these things is always to your advantage. If you are ever in need of assistance or have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to JW Auto Centers for professional advice or assistance.

Why it’s important to have your battery replaced

Having your battery inspected and charging system checked will give you peace of mind whenever you turn your vehicle off. Operating a vehicle with a failed battery or charging system can be dangerous. Your vehicle may stop suddenly, endangering your family and other motorists around you.