Cold weather is brutal on car batteries.

With much of the country locked in a deep freeze, the southern central Ontario chapter of the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) reports that their average call volume has doubled, with many of those calls related to dead batteries.

With that in mind, here's the CAA's list of signs that your battery may be ready to die:

  • Your vehicle cranks slowly when trying to start. 
  • You hear a grinding, clicking or buzzing when you turn the ignition on. 
  • Your vehicle has previously stalled. 
  • Your headlights dim when you are idling but brighten when you rev the engine.

CAA recommends replacing a battery the minute its performance becomes suspect. This way you avoid the thrill of being left stranded in some distant corner of a dark parking lot in minus double-digit weather.

Some other tips:

  • Turn off your vehicle's lights, heater and radio before trying to start it.
  • Remember that the average life of a battery is three to five years, but driving conditions, weather and lack of care can shorten the lifespan of a battery.

Here's a few other winter driving tips not related to batteries. Again, this information is provided by the CAA:

  • Check your tire pressure regularly. The cold weather will lower your tire pressure. Under inflated tires can reduce your handling and increase the wear and tear on your tires.

  • Keep gas tank at least half full. Cold weather can cause condensation which can lead to a fuel line freeze

Any finally, here's a list of materials you should keep in the car in winter months:

  • Ice scraper and snow brush.
  • Booster cables.
  • Extra clothing and footwear.
  • Blankets and sleeping bags.
  • Fully charged smart phone.
  • Windshield washer fluid.
  • Bottled water.
  • Granola or energy bars.