Colder weather brings out the worst in a vehicle's battery. On a very cold day, you may have experienced that your engine cranks slowly when starting. But while it may be the battery itself, it may also be the parts that transfer the power to other the other electrical components, the battery cables. After all, you have to have some way to get the current out of the battery and out to where it needs to go.
Battery cables have a couple of enemies: corrosion and age. You may have looked under the hood and noticed a light-colored powder or crust around the terminals. That's what happens when acids corrode the ends of the battery terminals. Corrosion inhibits the connection and may reduce the amount of power getting to the electrical accessories to the point where they are not working correctly, if at all.
Here are some symptoms of problems with your battery cables. You might notice a clicking sound when you turn the key, some of your vehicle's electrical parts (like the sound system or the horn) don't work or, in some cases, the vehicle won't start at all.
When you take your vehicle to a repair facility, the technician will use instruments to check voltages to see how much current is getting to what location. That includes a starter draw test during which the battery's voltage is checked when the starter is cranked. The technician will also visually inspect the cables and the charging system. To make sure the alternator is putting out the right voltage, the technician will measure that as well.
If the problem is found to be the battery cable assembly, the entire set may have to be replaced. Sometimes they can be repaired.
During the colder months, it's vital that your vehicle has the proper power going to its electrical components. Having a vehicle that won't start or run smoothly is not something you want to battle with when you're already up against challenging weather. Keep your electrons flowing… and your vehicle moving.
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