The car battery is responsible for supplying the jolt of electricity needed to power all the car’s electrical components and helps start the engine when the key is turned in the ignition. Car batteries usually last for three to five years but there are some factors such as exposure to extreme elements, poor maintenance, or bad driving habits that can shorten its life. You don’t want to deal with a dead car battery since you may end up stranded somewhere. Good thing there are car battery maintenance tips that can help you extend your battery’s life. It includes cleaning the battery, regularly testing it, keeping it fastened, limiting short trips, making sure that all electrical components are turned off when your car is not being used, and by following your car’s recommended maintenance and service schedule.
These car battery maintenance tips are here for a reason, and it is to make sure that your car battery won’t suffer premature wear and other problems. A healthy battery is needed to make sure that the car can operate properly. It not only helps you start your car but it also allows you to use your car’s electrical components such as lights and air conditioning. In this article, we’ll go through each of the car battery maintenance tips and everything you need to know!
Car Battery Maintenance Tips: How Can I Make My Car Battery Last Longer?
As mentioned earlier, it is very important for a car to have a healthy, working battery for it to function properly. You won’t be able to start your car without it nor use your car’s electrical components. Car batteries can also help ensure that your car is efficient and safe. If your car has shown symptoms of a bad battery, then you need to have it checked and repaired immediately.
The reason for this is car batteries not only help you start your car, it also makes sure that the anti-theft systems of your car are functioning properly as well as helping regulate the electronic fuel injection. Plus, car batteries also help ensure that your car is getting the needed engine capacity for you to receive as much power your car needs when you step on the gas pedal.
Car batteries usually last for 3 to 5 years but they can suffer premature wear and damage due to several factors. One of these factors is the weather. Car batteries are often exposed to extreme weather, especially if the car is running on a very hot day. It can cause the car battery’s fluid to evaporate which can damage the battery’s structure. Perhaps it is one of the reasons why car batteries usually have a shorter life in places where the climate is warmer.
However, no matter where you live or what the temperature is when you are driving, taking care of your car battery is a must. You need to do whatever you can to maintain it and extend its life so it won’t suffer premature wear. Many people are asking, how can I make my car battery last longer? You can make your car battery last longer by following these car battery maintenance tips.
- Clean your car battery
Dirt, dampness, grime, and other debris can cause your car battery to become damaged if it gets into its cells. It can also lead to leakage across the car battery which can result in short circuit, as well as cause corrosion on the surrounding metal. It is for this reason why cleaning your battery is considered as one of the car battery maintenance tips.
To clean your car battery, you will just have to clean and remove any surface level grime or dirt by using a sponge and dry cloth. You can clean the grime at least once every month to keep it from building up. If you spot some build ups or corrosion on your battery, you can clean it using a baking soda and water paste and a wire brush. Just make sure that you fully wipe it clean and not leave any baking soda residue since it can lead to corrosion.
Corrosion on the battery terminals and battery lead clamps should also be addressed immediately if you notice it. You will have to clean and get rid of it immediately. When corrosion has developed on the battery’s terminals and lead clamps, it can lead to a hindered flow of electricity through the battery. When cleaning, you need to make sure that there is no fluid that can enter through the battery ports.
- Conduct regular car battery test
When you do this car battery maintenance tip regularly, it can help prevent battery failure or car breakdown while you are driving. You can either have a professional conduct a car battery test, or you can do the test yourself since there are many products or devices being sold today that allow you to do battery tests at home.
One of the methods commonly used to test the voltage of a car battery is by using a voltmeter. If you do test your car battery using this tool, you need to make sure that the voltage test will be completed after the car has been turned off for at least 12 hours for you to get the most accurate reading.
To do the voltage test, you will have to begin by connecting the positive lead of the voltmeter to the battery’s positive terminal and connect the voltmeter’s negative lead to the battery’s negative terminal. Once done, you will get a voltage reading. You will get a reading between 12.4 and 12.8 volts if your battery is fully charged. If the reading of the voltage falls outside these numbers, then it means that there is something wrong with your battery and you need to have it checked by a professional.
- Make sure the battery is seated properly
You need to check your car battery and make sure that it is seated properly. This is because car batteries tend to be tossed around when they are not fastened securely. This should not happen since car batteries have a number of components which include acid and fluid. The acid and fluid may leak when the car battery gets tossed around enough. When this happens, it can cause severe damage to your engine that can be very expensive to fix. Plus, a car battery that is not seated properly can vibrate which can lead to short circuits and internal damage.
This is why checking the battery and making sure it is properly seated is one of the car battery maintenance tips. You need to make sure that you do this every now and then to make sure that your car battery is not being tossed around, especially if you are always driving on bumpy roads. If needed, you can secure it tightly and properly positioned in the mounting bracket by using some industrial strength rubber bungee cords.
- Drive it regularly and limit short trips
One way to extend the life of your car battery is driving your car, and no, short trips or drives do not actually count. Bear in mind that your car batteries will recharge whenever you drive. You should also limit short trips since driving for a few minutes prevents your car battery from fully charging. To make sure that you will maintain the power of your car battery, you need to drive your car regularly for extended periods.
Although it has been said that when you are not using your car for a long period, you should at least start your engine and let it idle for a few minutes, it is not as effective as actually driving your car for at least 30 minutes on a highway. If you can’t really drive your car frequently, then you should at least invest in a portable car battery charger. This way, when your car battery dies while you are driving somewhere, you will be able to jump start your car in case there is no other car with a running battery around.
- Turn off the car’s electrical components when the car is not being used
There are times when you accidentally forget to turn off your headlights, door lights, or interior lights when you leave your car and park it overnight or for several hours. This is something you should avoid since it can put a heavy toll on your battery and drain it. This can happen since the alternator of your car is turned off when you shut down the engine. These electrical components will get power from the car battery instead.
To prevent this from happening, you need to check that everything is switched off every time you get out of your car. You need to check the lights, your infotainment system, and even your car door. You need to make sure that your car doors are closed since it can also drain your car battery because the computer system of your car might still run if the car is open. If you often forget about this car battery maintenance tip, you can post a note on your dashboard to remind you to check and turn off your car’s electrical components before you exit your car.
- Have your car maintained and serviced regularly
Since a car is basically made up of a lot of components and systems that work together, you need to have it maintained and serviced regularly to make sure that you won’t experience unexpected breakdowns. Believe it or not, this can have an effect on your car’s battery. It can help extend its life and the life of all the components of the cars. If you have your car serviced, make sure that you ask the mechanic to check your car battery as well.
Car Battery Maintenance Tips: How Do I Maintain a Car Battery When Not in Use?
As mentioned earlier, cars need to be driven frequently for longer periods to fully charge the car batteries. However, due to some reasons, some cars are not driven frequently and are just sitting idle in the garage for a long period. If this is the case, you might ask, “how do I maintain a car battery when not in use?”.
The car battery maintenance tips for cars that are sitting idle in the garage for a long period include:
- Disconnecting the car battery’s negative terminal.
You can disconnect the negative terminal of the car battery to make sure that your battery will be preserved. This is because many car components still use power from your car even when it is turned off. This includes security alarms, clocks, and onboard computers.
- Disengaging the car’s security alarm if your car is parked in a secure area.
If you are confident that your car is parked in a secure area like in your garage or somewhere heavily-guarded, you can turn off your car’s security system to preserve your car battery. Leaving it on when the car is rarely driven will only drain its battery much faster.
- Investing in portable jump starters.
This car battery maintenance tip has already been mentioned, but it is one of the things you can do to maintain your car battery while not in use. This way, when you use your car again and your battery dies, you can start your car even without the help of another vehicle.
- Storing the car battery properly.
If you choose to store your car battery, you can still maintain it by making sure that its voltage doesn’t drop below 12.4 volts. You can do so by using a device referred to as a battery maintainer. This device is used to monitor your car battery and keep its healthy charge during storage.
These car battery maintenance tips will be very helpful in extending the life of your car battery. You need to follow these simple tips to make sure that you won’t be stranded somewhere because of a dead battery. You just need to give a bit of time and effort to maintain your battery to make sure that you won’t have to deal with battery problems for a long time.