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Winter Car Guide
Man checking car tire
5 threats to your car from Old Man Winter

Learn to jump-start a battery
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Learn to jump-start a battery

Any major change in temperature can push a borderline battery over the edge, so jump-starts are a common winter sight. Many drivers cart around basic booster cables in case they might need to give or receive a "jump."

"Old-fashioned booster cables are deadly for modern cars," says Goss. "They can do hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in damage to the electronics on the modern car."

Even if you connect correctly, the mere disconnection of regular booster cables creates a voltage spike. "That voltage spike through the system will then damage, usually not destroy, all sorts of different components. And it's usually much later -- weeks or months later -- before that component fails during use," Goss says.

The best protection against misadventures with jump-starts is to have your battery tested twice a year in the fall and spring, says Goss. If it no longer passes muster, replace it with a new battery that offers the best balance of maximum cold-cranking amps and reserve capacity (the ability to hold a charge over time). That will get your engine running and keep it running.




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