Watch Your Power Consumption
If too many power drainers are running at the same time, this can have a marked effect on batteries, as well as increasing fuel consumption. Varta’s advice is to use heavy current consumers (heated screens and seats, fans etc.) sparingly, turning them off as soon as they have done their job. Turn down the fan when the windscreen has cleared and the rear window heater when the frost has vanished. Varta also suggests switching off heated seats when you are warm enough and to avoid unnecessary use of fog lights.
Sitting in traffic with the engine idling and too many current consumers switched on places an even greater strain on the battery in winter. The colder it is, the more difficulty the engine has in turning over with its dense oil. The current-producing chemical processes in the battery will also be more sluggish and it will be harder to start the engine, even when the battery is fully charged.
A practical example
Varta gives the following as a practical example of what can happen: In a VW Golf, the alternator produces almost two kilowatts, but this can be easily eroded. Lighting (including brake lights and instrument panel) requires some 200 watts, rear window heater another 400 watts and a colossal 1,000 watts for a heated windscreen. The fan, at its highest setting, accounts for another 400 watts and heated seating 100 watts per seat.
Already we have exceeded the alternator output and have not taken into account the engine electronics, where the fuel pump, injection, ignition system and Lambda probe can easily take up to 500 watts.
It is as well to check on the condition of your battery before winter arrives and many Varta stockists offer this service free of charge. If the dealer or fast-fit can point out to their customers the wisdom of conserving energy, then there will be fewer call-outs and not so many frustrated drivers.
And if the motorist is not impressed by the energy conservation angle, then try the economic argument – according to Varta, a motorist who drives with lights, windscreen, seat heaters and other accessories switched on can get through between half and one litre of extra fuel over a 60 mile journey.