With the cold and wet days of winter already on our doorstep, finding a dead battery under your bonet is the last thing you need.Just because your battery is fine and dandy on a lovely day, it could be cranky when the weather turns – even if it’s relatively new. That's the trouble with batteries - it doesn't give you an indication of its lifespan before leaving you stranded. FINDING FAULTBatteries might be more advanced in modern cars but it’s still advisable to have it checked out with a quick test at a battery centre. Often we'll attribute problems with the battery when it could be the alarm, tracking device or even the immobiliser which could be draining power. When you do need to replace your battery, rather buy a new one instead of a reconditioned one, or even a cheaper, foreign option. While these alternatives might be a quick fix, they often don't last long and you’ll have to fork out more cash to purchase another. Cheaper batteries are often sold without guarantees. Remember, your battery life is also determined by the amount of accessories running off it, like a big sound system, extra lights or tracking devices. In this instance, bigger batteries will suffice but always fit the size specified by the automaker.A Battery Centre spokesperson said all locally produced batteries have a 12 month guarantee, but they can be relied on to last for several years under normal operating conditions provided they are properly maintained. Have your car battery checked out for free every six months to be on the safe side.DON’TS:Never add acid or additives to a batteryNever use a naked flame to look inside the battery cellsNever create a short circuit between the two terminals to check if the battery still has power – the sparks could cause an explosion.For more information and tips on how to care for batteries, visit the Battery Centre website or call 0800 112 600 toll-free.