Dealing with faulty car batteries can be a major hassle. A worn or faulty battery can cause electrical components to malfunction and make it difficult to start your vehicle. As your battery ages, it will gradually degrade over time leading to electrical problems for your vehicle.
However, there are ways to lengthen the lifespan of your car battery. If done properly, this can help you to get the longest life from your battery and save money on unnecessary replacements.
To help you out, we’ve created a guide on how to maintain your car battery.
Turn off the lights
Leaving your car’s lights on without the engine running can drain power from your battery. The most common lights to leave on are the headlights. Not closing your doors completely can also leave your interior lights on. Additionally, phone chargers or any other device that needs electrical power from the car can also drain your battery. To avoid this, make sure that all electrical accessories are unplugged or turned off when you switch off your car.
Maintain a suitable temperature
Although your battery is hidden under your car’s hood, it is still vulnerable to extreme temperatures.
Extreme heat can cause water loss and adversely affect the chemical reactions that occur inside the battery. Additionally, changes between hot and cold temperatures can cause the battery case to crack, causing distortion and leakages.
When parking your car outside during the summer, make sure to choose a spot that isn’t exposed to direct sunlight. If you live in an area that gets pretty chilly in the winter, consider parking your car in the garage as often as possible. Maintaining the proper temperature around your battery will ensure it performs optimally and lasts for a long time.
Clean the terminals
Battery terminals are prone to corrosion. Moisture and battery leakages are often the reason for this. If the case is severe enough, you won’t be able to get a good connection between the battery and the terminals, affecting the performance of your vehicle and it’s electrical components.
As a general rule, you should check your terminals every six months or so. If there’s minor corrosion, you can clean it off using a wire brush. However, if there’s severe corrosion, it’s a good idea to visit a mechanic to handle the issue. The corrosive substance can cause injury to your skin if not handled properly.
Additionally, if the terminals have been damaged, you may need to get the battery replaced.
Top up battery fluids
Keeping the battery fluids topped up can extend your battery’s lifespan and ensure that it’s working properly.
First, check your battery cells for the water levels. If it indicates low levels, then it’s time to top up. To do this, simply use distilled water to fill the battery cells. Using another type of fluid can cause permanent damage to your battery.
You also want to make sure you fill the cells with just the right amount of water. Overfilling the cells can dilute the electrolytes in the battery, which will affect its longevity and performance. If your battery has level lines, use those as a guide. If not, just fill it just below the bottom of the battery cap. Afterwards, leave the battery for a few hours before using the vehicle.
Charge the battery
If your car sits in the garage for a long period of time, your battery will eventually lose its charge. The best way to handle this is to drive your car regularly. A minimum distance of 10kms for each trip is ideal.
You can also get a car battery charger. It is recommended that you charge your battery every two months or so. Keep in mind that, like with laptop and phone batteries, overcharging your car battery can affect its lifespan.
Your battery is one of the more important parts of your car. Not giving it the attention that it needs can cause a lot of headaches for you and your mechanic. To avoid this, consider the points we’ve discussed above. Implement some of these maintenance methods and you should be able to get the most out of your car battery.