Eau Claire (WQOW) — Bitter cold temps can force our cars to stop cooperating, so News 18 asked mechanics at CVTC the right way to give yourself a jump.
It’s one of the most common cold weather car issues; needing a jump. Jim Gutsch, an automotive technician instructor at CVTC told New 18 following instructions is key when jump-starting your car.
“Hook the red cable to the positive post on the battery, and then on the vehicle that you’re jump-starting, make sure you hook the negative, or the black cable. Back away from the battery and away from those vapors from the battery, and hook it to the ground to jump-start your vehicle,” Gutsch said.
Did you know your battery can freeze? Gutsch said the fluids inside the battery can which can cause even more issues than just needing a jump.
“If you have a frozen battery and try and jump it, sometimes they could explode, though we haven’t really seen any of that, but you can jump-start it, you can get it running, but once it starts running, there won’t be enough juice in the battery to keep everything going,” Gutsch said. “It could shut down as soon as you disconnect the jump-pack or the other vehicle that you’re using to jump-start it.”
You may need to replace your battery, even after a jump. Gutsch also said your driving habits could impact your car’s battery life.
“A lot of times short trips, you know just driving across town to the grocery store, back home. On the way there, you’ve got the fan on, keeping your passenger compartment warm, you’re draining the battery that way too,” added Gutsch. “Having an extreme load on the battery itself and the alternator to keep everything working and the battery doesn’t have enough time to charge itself back up.”
Gutsch also recommended checking your air filters, oil, tire pressure and headlights during winter months, as those are often impacted by snow, the cold and ice. Emergency officials also suggest having a winter survival kit in your car, in case you get stuck. You can find a list of recommended items here.