Extremely cold weather can affect the performance of a battery, most commonly meaning it’s harder to start the engine. On top of that, running lights, heaters and wipers more frequently in winter weather means there're more demands on your battery.
So, it’s worth taking a look before winter sets in. If your battery is more than five-years-old (the average life expectancy), consider getting it replaced. Your local garage will be able to check its health for you.Cleaning your battery
If there’s any obvious damage to the battery, best leave it to a professional to check. If you do want to clean the battery yourself, disconnect the negative first to avoid getting a shock (and reconnect the negative last for the same reason).
You can clean the terminals with a strong mix of warm water and baking soda, which will fizz. Use an old toothbrush or wire brush for this and dry the connections after with some paper towels. Applying some petroleum jelly to the exposed metal bits can help prevent future corrosion.Troubleshooting
If your engine doesn’t start, wait at least 30 seconds between attempts and turn off electric-dependent features like lights, window heaters and wipers. If you’re having no luck, it may need charging.
With batteries, prevention is better than a cure – just keep your battery topped up. A short journey will allow the battery to recharge itself effectively. If you don’t use your car very often, a regular overnight trickle charge will help maintain battery health.
Related: How to jump start a car