Today there are millions of vehicles circulating on our streets worldwide. A car battery is an essential part that helps the car start up and continue running. Not only it helps in getting your car started, but also powers your audio system and helps charge your phone on-the-go. That’s why it is critical to know how to extend battery’s lifespan, as well as when to start considering a car battery change.
Most vehicle batteries have an average lifespan of 5 to 7 years. Still, most of us have found ourselves with the unpleasant situation that when you are going to start the vehicle the battery has been discharged. Keeping your car on a regular maintenance and testing schedule with your mechanic will ensure your battery works properly, avoiding an expensive service or tow charge (and the worry of being stranded!).
This article will show you how to avoid those bad times. Here are some useful tips on how to take care of the battery of our vehicles:
How to Care for Your Car Battery?
1) Run Your Car For At least 10 Km
It is important to know that for the battery to recover completely you must travel at least 6.2 miles (10 km.) So that our short trips must combine them with routes that exceed this distance if you want the battery to remain fully charged.
If you don’t use your vehicle frequently, it is best to invest in a portable car battery charger. In case you are ever stranded, these portable chargers can jump-start your battery without any other vehicle’s help.
2) Avoid Extreme Temperatures
You should avoid subjecting your vehicle to extreme temperatures. A running engine is already producing a tremendous amount of heat. A scorching hot day will worsen the situation resulting in a severe drain on your car battery. This can lead to an increased chance of a dead battery.
Hot weather can cause car battery fluid to evaporate, damaging the internal structure of the battery. That’s why a warmer climate leads to shorter battery lifespan. Always consider the climate where you will drive the most and estimate how long your car battery life will last.
In cooler climates, starting a car engine can take up to twice as much current as needed under normal conditions. According to AAA’s Automotive Research Center, at 0°F, a battery loses about 60 percent of its strength and at 32°F it loses 35 percent. It is always advisable to get your battery tested, as well as your starting and charging systems before winter.
The best thumb rule is to maintain the temperature neither above 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) nor below 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius). This is a critical determining factor when the battery will get completely discharged.
Some vehicles have an insulator to protect the battery against very high temperatures which can swiftly dry out its fluid. It’s best to keep the insulator in place and undamaged.
3) Disconnect the Battery If Not In Use
If you plan to stop or park the vehicle for a long time, you must disconnect the battery. This is because there is a very high chance that when you turn on the engine the battery will not work. There are also devices on the market called battery maintainers that can be connected 24 hours a day and so do not discharge while the vehicle is parked.
4) Turn Off the Radio If The Engine is Off
If you are somewhere waiting inside the vehicle, for example: in a supermarket, in a park or public parking with the engine off, you should avoid using elements that use the battery as a source of energy, such as Radio Player, external and internal lights, portable DVD, GPS, Tablets, Cell Phone Chargers etc.
If you accidentally keep your headlights and car door lights on, then this can put a heavy toll on your car’s battery. It is best to stick a note on your dashboard that would remind you to park in a direction where you must walk past your headlights to get to your destination.
5) Add Distilled Water Periodically
The majority of batteries that are commercialized at present do not need maintenance. However, if your vehicle’s battery is not maintenance-free, you need to check and add electrolyte or distilled water whenever necessary.
The majority of batteries that are commercialized at present do not need maintenance. Your car would either have a wet-cell battery or an Absorbed Glass Matt (AGM) battery. In case you have an AGM battery, never attempt to open the battery by yourself.
It is highly advisable to only have a battery expert check the water levels in a maintenance-free battery as they rarely ever need water. However, if your vehicle’s battery is not maintenance-free, you need to check the battery’s water level every 2 or 3 months and add electrolyte or distilled water whenever necessary. The water should just touch the bottom of the battery’s refill hole.
- On the battery, pull up the fill caps to inspect the fluid level.
- If the level is low, refill the battery only with electrolyte or distilled water. Use a funnel to pour the water into the refill hole. Wait for the water to reach the bottom of the refill hole. Do not overfill.
6) Prevent Rusting Of Battery Terminals
The care of the battery terminals is also very important. Over time, battery terminals corrode and keeping them clean from buildup is a great way to extend the life of your battery.
It is also important to know how to clean the terminals of the vehicle’s battery to avoid bad contact. Follow the steps below to learn how to clean your battery terminals. Repeat this in every 6 to 8 months.
- Separate the connectors from the battery terminal by moving them from side to side and gently pulling them up.
- Scrub the terminals with a wire brush or toothbrush dipped in a baking soda and water mixture.
- Try to achieve a shine and remove dried acid build-up.
- Use a spray bottle filled with cold water to rinse the mixture off and follow up with a thorough drying with a clean rag/cloth.
To prevent them from oxidizing or sulfaten you can use something very simple and easy to find such as Vaseline or grease. Just apply them on the terminals. Also in Auto parts stores, you will find similar chemical products in order to take care of them.
You have successfully learned How to Care For Your Car Battery as part of DIY Car Battery Care.
A car has many parts that work together. You have to make sure that your car is in for routine tune-ups. These are some of the simplest ways to ensure your battery’s lifespan can reach its full capacity. The battery is just one component of your vehicle. It’s advisable to properly maintain all parts of your car to extend your vehicle and battery life.
Apart from the DIY Car Battery Care, check out our Car Maintenance Guide that will help you keep your car in the best condition. We’ve collected 20 basic car maintenance tips, both exterior and interior, that will make your life a lot easier if properly followed.
But no matter how well you maintain your vehicle battery, you can’t always foresee when it may die. Learn more about emergency numbers and how it can help you in the event of an emergency.