We have ALL experienced a dead battery, whether in the cold weather or not. Cold weather is the time most car batteries fail, but battery failure is not exclusive to the cold!
A battery service and test is the best insurance you can buy to keep you form being stranded next winter!
Extreme temperatures stress your car -- especially the starting system. In the winter, when you have a cold engine, cold oil and a cold battery...well, it's a bad combination.
Weak batteries are caused by
- Corroded battery cables
- Lose alternator belt
- Leaving the lights on
- Age (average battery life is 4-5 years)
- Test and inspect the battery every fall
- Clean battery terminals and cable ends
- Clean the battery case
- Watch the acid though - it can burn your hands, and ruin your car paint
If you get stuck with a dead battery... To jump start, connect red to red/black to black OR + to + and - to -. BE CAREFUL! Connecting it wrong can give you a painful and unwanted shock!
Be careful if you decide to change your own battery -- some cars will lose the computer programming -- check with a good tech first. If you're uncertain about any part of your starting or charging system, the best insurance is to get it tested by a good technician.