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Better batteries make winter driving safer

When temperatures plummet and snow piles up, a dead car battery can be a huge inconvenience at best, and a life-threatening emergency at worst. The best time to winterize your car and brush up on some battery basics is before the cold weather arrives.

“The battery is literally the life spark of your car,” says Dave McMullen, director of marketing at EnerSys, makers of Odyssey drycell batteries. “Your automotive winterizing routine should include a full check up and cold-weather prep for your car battery.”

The experts at EnerSys offer the following tips for getting your car battery ready for winter:

• Keep safety in mind when working with your car battery. Wear goggles to protect your eyes, and handle the battery with care. Remember, most auto batteries are filled with highly corrosive acid.

• Always disconnect the battery before doing anything else. Remove the cable from ground first, which is usually the negative terminal. This disconnects the battery from the car’s entire electrical system and minimizes the risk of causing sparks. Then remove the positive terminal connection. Never use a screwdriver to pry off stuck-on battery cable terminals because you could damage connections inside the battery post. Instead, use a battery puller tool to remove cable terminals.

• Corroded battery and cable connections can make it harder to start the engine, especially in winter. Use a battery terminal cleaning tool and a good quality battery cleaning solution to remove corrosion from the terminals and posts.

• Use warm water and a mild detergent to remove grease and dirt from the plastic surface of the battery. This is important because a layer of dirt can actually act as a conductive agent, causing the battery to constantly discharge slightly.

• All exposed metal parts of the terminals and cables should be greased to prevent future corrosion.

• Reconnect the battery and check to be sure it is secured tightly in the battery tray. A loose battery can spill acid. Be sure all the cables are reconnected correctly, and check that the generator drive belt is in good condition and adjusted properly.

• If you live in an area where winter brings extreme cold, consider replacing your car’s standard battery with an absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery, such as the Odyssey drycell battery. Virtually maintenance-free, the Odyssey batteries never require additional water, and the terminals never need cleaning or tightening after installation. Valve regulated drycell construction prevents external corrosion and acid leakage, and enables the battery to stand up to some of the harshest climates on Earth without losing its effectiveness.

In fact, the British Antarctic Survey, which conducts vital scientific research in the Antarctic, uses Odyssey drycell batteries in vehicles ranging from quad bikes to Snocats and bulldozers.

Battery failure in such a harsh environment, where temperatures can fall to 55 degrees Celsius below zero, can be a life-threatening situation.

“If we have a failure at -40 degrees C and the vehicle is off station, then people could be stranded,” says Martin Bell, deputy project manager for the BAS.

Thanks to Odyssey batteries, when BAS vehicles stop, it’s due to human frailty, rather than mechanical failure.

“We tend to stop vehicle operations at -45 degrees C, as it gets a little hard for the driver to stop freezing to the steering wheel.” Bell says.

To learn more about the superior performance, dependability, shipping flexibility, and storage life of EnerSys’Odyssey drycell batteries, or to find a distributor in your area, visit www.odysseyfactory.com.

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