Winter has started for all of us who live in the northern part of the hemisphere, and with the winter came the challenges for our Saab cars, especially for batteries that do not tolerate low temperatures. But with a few tips, the battery in your Saab car will be able to work more reliably and for longer. One of the most common “culprits” for winter troubles is the battery. So let’s look at how to help the battery “survive” cold days and continue to serve us for many more years.
The battery loses performance due to the low temperatures. But the driver’s behavior can also contribute to early battery death.
5 Common Mistakes Related to (Non)Maintenance of Car Batteries
1 Short Trips
Many people can probably no longer hear how harmful constant short journeys are to the car. But they are an enormous burden, especially for the car battery. Because the battery has to use a lot of force to start the engine. Over a short distance, there is only little time to recharge the car battery. If other consumers, such as the car radio or seat heating, are then used, additional fluid is withdrawn from the battery. At some point, the battery will be unusable. To remedy this, the battery should be recharged regularly with a charger.
However, experts say that such a short time is not enough to charge it. Even a short drive will be counterproductive. So, in winter, avoid driving short distances as much as you can.
2 Forgot to Switch Off Consumers
Forget the light overnight and the next morning the battery is dead – the classic. It’s good that modern cars switch off the lights automatically. Nevertheless, external consumers of the car battery in particular can be dangerous. For example, there are 12-volt plugs that maintain the power supply even when the engine is switched off. If accessories such as a heated seat cover or a dashcam are connected here, electricity will continue to be drawn even when the engine is switched off.
This also applies to accessories that are connected directly to the battery. Even if only small amounts of electricity flow, the battery can end up being empty if the car is not moved for a long time. Therefore, always remember to disconnect the accessories from the power supply when parking.
3 Non-maintenance of Battery Poles
If the car battery is not cared for, there is a risk that sooner or later it will stop working. If it is dirty, leakage currents can flow through the damp dirt, which gradually discharge the battery. Contacts and connections in particular should always be kept clean, otherwise the battery can discharge. Therefore check the car battery regularly and clean it if necessary.
Dirty or corroded terminals and battery poles are often a problem. Therefore, they should be checked from time to time and, if necessary, removed and cleaned with sandpaper, wire brush or a sharp object. When performing this operation, first remove the terminal from the negative, then from the positive pole, and return first to the positive, then to the negative.
It also helps if you apply special grease or spray them to protect the terminals (maybe WD-40). Even if the battery does not cause you any problems, perform periodic inspections, as clean contacts ensure a more correct charge, which means that it will last longer.
Clean terminals are very important for diesels because it can happen that the engine cannot be started – and that the battery is not the cause.
4 No Preparation for Long Standing Times
If the car is not started for several weeks, this also damages the car battery. Because even if all consumers are switched off, it loses voltage over time – it discharges. At the end of the standing time, this can lead to a rude awakening. It is therefore advisable to connect the battery to a car battery charger with a maintenance function if the battery is to be used for a longer period of time.
5 Ignore the First Warning Signs
The fact that the battery is giving up is often evident long before a total failure. Typical signs are flickering headlights when starting. Even when starting the car, you will notice a weak battery if the engine is struggling to start. You can also easily check whether the battery has been damaged by switching on the dipped headlights when the ignition is activated. If the light intensity decreases somewhat over time, the car battery is in poor condition. It is therefore important to connect the battery to a charger as soon as possible if you notice these signs.
Saab Cars and Batteries
Of course, these are not all the mistakes you can make on your car batteries, but they are certainly the most important – so try to avoid them.
The demands on the car’s functionality have developed strongly during the last years. Development has primarily affected the car’s electrical system. From Saab 900 1994 when the instrument bus with 4 control modules via Saab 9-5 and 9-3 with the Infotainment bus and the Power train bus and 13 control modules on to the Saab 9-3 Sport Saloon with at most 30 control modules. In addition to the I-bus and the P-bus, an Optical bus was introduced on the Saab 9-3 Sport Saloon, which interconnects the car’s infotainment system. Furthermore, an electrically controlled steering column lock was introduced.
Like all modem cars, newer Saab cars are full of electronics, ie consumers of electricity. As a result, Saab cars are very sensitive to bad batteries and inadequate voltage, so messages such as failures of certain subsystems such as starter locks or TCS-ABS systems often occur.
Saab cars with diesel engines are especially demanding, because diesel engines require higher starting power of the battery. Also, In the case of Saab diesels, several things must be satisfied in order for the start to be safe even in extreme conditions.
The most important of these are heaters. If not everyone works – that’s a huge problem. According to several service technicians, if the heaters are defective, there may be problems with starting the engine outside the winter period.
Batteries in diesel vehicles are some 20-30% stronger than gasoline and for the same cubic capacity. The total current of all heaters (we mean 4-cylinder engines, although it is not a problem to calculate for larger ones) is in the range of 40-80A. Great amperage for a bad battery. It is true that modern engines have many advantages, they are easier to start, starters have reducers, heaters heat up in a shorter time … Everything is fine, but the battery MUST BE IN GOOD CONDITION.
The terminal voltage of the battery is 12V and its capacity is dependent on the engine variant. The battery delivers current to the starter motor for starting the engine and supplies other power consumers with current while the engine is not running. The positive battery terminal is connected to the starter motor and to the main fuse box in the engine bay and its negative terminal is connected to the body and the engine.
The battery is located on the left-hand side of the engine bay. On some variance, it is contained in a battery cover to reduce heating. All air duct takes in air via the car’s grille. The air from the air duct passes through the battery cover and consequently cools down the battery.
The battery electrolyte cannot be topped up. The battery electrolyte level is indicated by an indicator point on the top of the battery (in most factory-installed batteries). If the indicator is dart, the level is OK. On low level the indicator is light and the battery should be changed.