Q: Should I idle my car if I do not use it that frequently?

asked by on October 26, 2016

I am a college student and use my car about once a week to buy groceries. It is starting to get colder and I was told to idle my car for a few minutes to prevent the battery from dying. What I've read however is that it drains gas and actually does not help the battery. Is driving my car once a week (For example, every Friday) enough in cold temperatures or should I be doing something else? The coldest it's been so far is around 25 degrees, but later in winter it can get down to -40 degrees. My car has an automatic transmission.

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Hey there. The vehicle should not have any problem with starting up once a week as long as the vehicle is driven for more than 30 minutes when it is run once a week to recharge the battery to a full state. A battery should not have an issue being used like this. If you notice when you go to start the car that it turns over very slow before starting, or does not turn over at all then you should have the battery tested to see if it is going bad.

Sometimes a battery will seem to work okay in warm weather and then looses it charge or ability to hold a charge for more than a couple days in cold weather. If your battery is over three years old then this may happen. Most batteries only last between three to five years before they fail and a drastic change in temperature can cause the battery to quickly fail. If this is found to be the case, then you should replace the battery to get your car back on the road.

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