Find a Jiffy Lube® Location
Your Jiffy Lube®
Ah, Winter. It’s the perfect time for snuggling up by the fire, making snowmen, drinking hot chocolate, and, oh yeah, dealing with dead car batteries. Let’s face it, cars aren’t fans of lower temps. Frigid weather can affect your battery’s effectiveness to the point where your car won’t start.
When you are cold-starting your car, that typically means that the outside temperatures are at or below 32º F. So, if you live in an area that hits those lows during the winter months, you can count on Jiffy Lube® to help keep your vehicle on the road.
Waking up on a cold morning only to discover that your car won’t start can ruin your day. Chances are a dead battery is the reason why your engine fails to turn over. But there are other reasons too. Here’s a list of common causes and how to prevent them:
It’s the number one reason your engine won’t turn over in the cold. Did you know when the temperature drops to 0º F your battery loses almost half of its potential power? If your car battery dies in cold weather, use a portable jumper or a battery charger to give your battery a boost. You can also clean the corrosion from the battery terminals with a wire brush to ensure you’re getting the most power from your jump.
Additionally, installing a battery blanket in your vehicle can help keep the battery from losing power in extreme cold. But if your battery is over 3 years old, it’s advised that you replace it with a battery that has a high Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) rating to endure the frigid temps.
Thick Motor Oil
Cold temperatures also mean cold fluids. When vital fluids in your engine get cold, they typically thicken. Motor oil will thicken, making the battery work harder to push oil through the engine. Consider switching to a full synthetic motor oil that can hold up to lower temperatures better than conventional motor oils, and always use the oil viscosity rating that’s recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Check your owner’s manual to be 100% sure. (FYI: The “W” in the motor oil’s name means that it’s suitable for winter driving.)
One way to help prevent your motor oil form thickening is to keep your engine warm. Park inside a garage or parking structure if you have access. Installing an in-the-block heater can keep the oil warmer in extreme climates. You can always head over to Jiffy Lube for a speedy oil and filter change when the cold really swoops in. Just be sure to change the oil again once warmer weather sets in.
Defective Starter or Alternator
On cold days, weak or worn starter motor brushes may not draw enough power from an already weakened battery to start the engine. If your car’s not starting even after you try jumping it, and you hear the dreaded click, click, click when you do, it’s most likely that the starter is faulty, and you’ll need to tow your car to the nearest automotive service provider for a replacement. Alternators on the other hand are what convert the mechanical energy in your vehicle to electrical energy, which helps power many components, including charging your battery while you drive. If you notice that your headlights or dash lights are not as bright as usual, hear a grinding noise coming from the engine, or smell burning rubber, then your alternator or its drive belt may be faulty, and may need to be replaced.
You can always pull into Jiffy Lube to have a technician inspect the alternator drive belt for wear or at the very least perform an alternator voltage output test or a starter motor draw diagnostic test to make sure both parts are working at their optimal levels. One thing you can do to extend the life of your starter and alternator is to simply reduce the stress of the charging system by turning off unnecessary electrical accessories and devices until your engine fully warms up.
Understanding how cold weather affects your vehicle will help you be better prepared to deal with old man winter when he finally comes knocking on your car door. Winterizing your car is the best protection from being stranded. The professionals at Jiffy Lube can service your vehicle to help you stay ahead of the cold. When visiting a Jiffy Lube, you can expect the trained technicians to thoroughly test your battery, starting and charging systems, then provide you with service options so you can decide the best option based on your needs and driving style.
Now that you have a better understanding of your vehicle’s battery system, you can learn more about getting your car properly tuned up, no matter what the issue is. “Tips in a Jiffy” has new content added regularly so you can come back to the site for any questions about your vehicle.
Please note: Not all services are offered at each Jiffy Lube location. Please check with your local Jiffy Lube service center or visit jiffylube.com for specific services offered.