Imagine you’re driving along and find yourself beside a tow truck that’s hauling a disabled vehicle. You wish and hope that will never, ever be your car. But you can do more than cross your fingers. Since battery trouble often appears near the top if you search, “Reasons Car Won’t Start,” practicing preventive maintenance can help you avoid needing a jump start or a tow.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER, SO LET'S LEARN A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR BATTERY
The battery is the heart of your vehicle’s starting system. Here’s an overview of how three major components — battery, starter motor and alternator — work together in a continuous cycle to start the engine and keep it running.
The battery stores electrical energy
The starter motor converts the electrical energy to mechanical energy to crank the engine
After the engine has started, the alternator produces an electric current that replaces the energy the starter drew from the battery
In a timely, consistent manner, it’s recommended you check your battery. Make sure the engine is turned off and has had time to cool (careful - it’s possible to burn yourself when it’s too hot under the hood). Be sure the battery is secure and, while wearing rubber gloves, use a clean cloth to carefully clean the terminals, wiping away dirt and debris. If there’s corrosion you can’t easily remove, bring your car to Jiffy Lube®. A trained technician will check your battery and professionally ensure it has clean terminals.
IF YOU CHECK YOUR BATTERY REGULARLY, WHAT CAN GO WRONG?
The starting system is complex, so unfortunately there are several battery-related reasons why a car won’t start, including:
Diminished battery capacity. In-vehicle entertainment, like your tunes or the movies the kids enjoy in the backseat, can put stress on your battery and cause it to lose some of its power. Winter can be hard on your battery, too. With shorter days and colder temperatures, the use of your lights and heater go up, and this can drain your battery.
Dirty or corroded battery terminals. Corrosion and grime can collect on the battery and interfere with the electrical connection.
Time and wear. Even a top-quality, well-maintained battery will give out sometime, usually after 3-5 years.
Starter motor failure. If you turn the key in the ignition or press the starter button and all you hear is a click — or worse, you don’t hear anything! — you could have car starter problems.
Alternator trouble. Without the alternator, the battery cannot maintain a full charge, and your car won’t start.
HERE'S HOW TO CATCH A PROBLEM EARLY
Remember these five indicators. Consider them as early warning signs of reasons your car won’t start. If you encounter one of these, refer to your vehicle owner’s manual immediately. If you can’t find your manual, or if you want the peace of mind that comes from having a trained professional examine your battery and starter system, bring your car to Jiffy Lube® if you experience:
Slow accessories (like your power seats and power windows)
Illuminated “check engine” or “charging” lights
EVEN BETTER, TAKE CONTROL AND PREVENT BATTERY TROUBLE BEFORE IT HAPPENS
Whether you’re bringing your car in for your regularly-scheduled Jiffy Lube Signature Service® Oil Change, or you’d like a trained technician to give your vehicle a once-over before a big trip, you can request a complete preventive battery maintenance check. Here’s what you can expect:
The battery will be visually inspected, including the hold down and connections
Then it will be electrically inspected
The terminals will be carefully, thoroughly cleaned
Connections will be inspected and tightened, if necessary
Battery fluid level will be checked and refilled (if possible)
You can also expect some conversation. The results of the maintenance check will be explained to you. Your questions are encouraged and will be answered before any work is done. The technician may have questions for you, too, to determine how your driving style impacts the performance of your vehicle’s starting and charging system.
WHEN YOU'RE READY FOR A NEW CAR BATTERY, JIFFY LUBE IS READY TO HELP
If the technician determines that your battery no longer performs to manufacturer specifications, you can look to Jiffy Lube® for battery replacement. This service includes expert installation of your new battery and the proper disposal of your old one (remember, you shouldn’t just throw your car battery in garbage or the recycling bin, since it contains lead and acid).
YOUR CAR, TRUCK, SUV, OR MINIVAN SHOULD BE SAFE, DEPENDABLE AND ON THE ROAD, WHERE IT BELONGS
Understanding the early warning signs of battery and starter system problems and turning to Jiffy Lube® when you have concerns and questions, can help you avoid being stranded when your car won’t start.