Michigan is a beautiful state filled with incredible landscapes, hiking paths, parks and an incredible amount of lakeshore. Most of these places require some driving to access. The best way to ruin a good hike is to get back to your car and find out your battery is dead and you need to find someone to jump start your car.
Not many people think about how old a battery is or what it's life span should be. I think about batteries. I don't know if this is an indication that I have been around car repair conversations for too long. Probably. Mostly because I see the inconvenience a bad battery causes and I know it can be avoided with correct maintenance and testing. Michigan is tough on batteries. Hot weather and cold weather both affect longevity of a battery. Winters that include the description snowpocolypse, polar vortex or snowmeggedon are especially harsh on batteries. Our hot summers are equally tough on the battery powering your vehicle.
The first sign that your battery is getting weak is the longer crank time it takes to start your car. If it sounds like it's working too hard, it is time to have your battery checked. If you have to have your vehicle jump started at any time, you should have your battery and alternator tested. You may not realize that jump starting your battery doesn't ‘recharge’ it. Jump starting it gives the battery enough juice to start the car but if the battery or alternator are weak, it may not charge and you’ll be having it jump started again. If your battery has been weak, it may have worn down your alternator so it's important to get both components tested.
It's important to be aware of how your vehicle should be jump started if you're in that situation. It is no longer ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to jump starting your vehicle. Some makes of vehicles have specific requirements. Be aware of what those are for YOUR vehicle.
As we approach the colder season, make an appointment to have your battery and alternator checked. This can be easily done during an oil change and it may save you an afternoon of trying to find someone with jumper cables.