Car Battery Drainage | Winnipeggers have it bad!

Winnipeg weather is cold. Thats no secret. You wouldn't believe the amount of calls we get from customers of ours worried that there is something seriously wrong with their vehicles, only to find that our climate has simply rendered their vehicle temporarily useless.

There are a couple common causes of battery drainage that can occur that we should all be aware of as car owners. Here they are:
2018 Honda Civic Hatchback Battery

2018 Honda Civic Hatchback Battery

1. Temperature
This is an obvious one. In Winnipeg we sometimes get a cold snap that will freeze the battery of any vehicle that sits out side. Sometimes even over night! You might shuffle out to the car with your hands in your pockets and your shoulders naturally up by your ears only to find that your car wont start. Planning a winter vacation? Lets hope you have a heated garage or you better ask a friend or family member to run your vehicle while you're gone because you might end up with a dead battery by the time you get back.  Our vehicles require a certain amount of power to turn on. In the cold our batteries have a hard time achieving this. However, at the opposite end, we also get extreme heat in Winnipeg's summer months. It's proven that a battery subjected to the extreme heat in the summer time might actually get a boost in power temporarily. That sounds awesome, but really what it translates too is a shorter lifespan for your battery. So when it comes to temperature and car batteries, Winnipeggers have it bad!
Cold weather on Team Foui's car lot. Sometimes we boost cars too!

Cold weather on Team Foui's car lot. Sometimes we boost cars too!

2. Aftermarkets and electronics
This is whats called "Parasitic Drain". This is what happens when you have electronics like aftermarket remote engine starters and rust inhibitors applied to your vehicle. Remote starters are always listening for the button press on your key fob and things like rust inhibitors are always on, repelling the rust caused by salt and sand on our roads. Most new vehicles will always have some kind of parasitic drain. The vehicle's computers are always running, making sure to keep your clocks, radio stations, etc the way you set them even after the vehicle is turned off. Now, considering Winnipeg's climate once more, we typically have remote starts and rust inhibitors in our vehicles for good reason and I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to give mine up. I'll take the occasional dead battery over getting into a cold car any day! Once again, Winnipeggers have it bad!
To remote engine start, or not to remote engine start. That is the question!

To remote engine start, or not to remote engine start. That is the question!

3. "I'm only Human"
We all make mistakes. One of the most common reasons for battery drainage is the driver themselves! You get home from work, you're in a rush to get dinner on the table for the kids and you have a handful of items you need to carry inside. Just as you turn the car off your cellphone rings and its your boss wondering why you left work early. The flicking of the switch to turn your headlights off is very easily forgotten in this scenario. Leaving your lights on is a battery killer! Most vehicles nowadays will notify the driver with an audible tone and a light to let you know you're forgetting something but sometimes thats not enough! If you're someone who owns a car with auto headlights, be thankful! It's a great feature to have and virtually eliminates the possibility of leaving your lights on!
Auto Headlights are a must if you want to guarantee you don't leave your lights on!

Auto Headlights are a must if you want to guarantee you don't leave your lights on!

4. Battery Lifespan
Is your car dying constantly? Once a week or more? How old is your car? Have you ever changed the battery? These are questions you should ask to help you figure out that your battery might have very well reached the end of it's life. Nothing lasts forever and until someone actually invents a battery that keeps going and going. You'll probably need a new battery throughout your vehicle's life time. All of the shops in Team Foui's line up of available dealerships can diagnose this issue quite easily, it's worth the trip in and batteries are probably one of the least expensive maintenance items on the list.
"Runs good"...if you can manage to make it run.

"Runs good"...if you can manage to make it run.

5. Alternator
Your alternator is in charge of charging your battery as you drive. People who drive less often or shorter distances may find their batteries die more often than others because the alternator can only charge the battery while the car is running. Sitting idle doesn't help much either. It's always best to take the car around the block a few times to guarantee your battery gets the charge it needs. A faulty alternator should be repaired, your batteries life and your schedule depend on it!
So a lot of things can contribute to the health and overall lifespan of your battery. Winnipeggers, or people subjected to the harsh cold of winter have it worse than others but there are things you can do to prevent the worst from happening! Block Heaters, heated parkades and garages and even parking the car in a warm area like a coin wash long enough for it to thaw can do wonders for your car! You can also consider purchasing whats called a "Trickle Charger". Which is something that you can leave connected to the vehicles battery that offers a slow steady charge to ensure the vehicle starts in the morning.

Good luck out there fellow cold weather endurers! We'll make it through another winter, we always do!