car battery maintenance

Maintenance Tips For Car Batteries

long term maintenance

When we talk about car maintenance, the most common things that come to mind are oil changes or other fluid changes. Many people, including you, might forget about your car battery. It’s true that the car battery has a lifespan of about 4-6 years, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about them.

You need to monitor and maintain your car batteries regularly too. Here are ways on how to do that:

Replace Your Battery

While it depends on the battery quality and conditions, car batteries typically have a lifespan of about 4-6 years. That means that you should also replace your car battery about every 4 years. When you replace your car battery regularly, you also make sure that your car runs properly. Don’t wait for your car battery to die before you replace them. It can be very inconvenient for you if your car fails to start just because your battery is already due for a replacement.

Keep It Clean

Another way to maintain your car battery is to make sure that it is clean, especially the terminals. Make sure they are not corroded. Look for any buildup due to rust or dirt. When you find them, use a wire brush to remove them. You can also use an anti-corrosion paste for the corroded areas. Due to the acidity of the paste, the rust attachment will be loosened and you may now remove it easily with a damp cloth or a scrub.

This should be done regularly at least every 3 weeks. Any build-up of dirt and rust on the terminals or connectors can disrupt the flow of power. That will also cause the lifespan of your battery to decrease. 

Avoid Always Going On Short Trips

Whenever you start your car, you use up your battery. It will only be recharged if you continue with your journey. The problem with very short trips is that the battery may not be recharged enough due to the short distance. If this is done everyday, the voltage will eventually go down until your car won’t be able to start anymore. 

Secure It In Place

The life of your car battery can be affected by vibrations. To make sure that your car battery is tightly fastened and secured in place, use a battery clamp. This will help lessen excessive vibration. However, also make sure that your battery clamp is not overly tight. 

Switch Off Accessories When Engine Isn’t On

It is best to keep your car battery close to 100% charged. Accessories that are turned on or are connected to the car will use up the power of the battery when the engine is off. That is why you should make sure that you switch them off. Make sure your lights are off before you leave your vehicle or else you’ll end up with a dead car battery in the morning. 

Avoid Too Much Heat Exposure

Most people believe that the winter months can be harsh on the batteries. That may be true because they’d have to work harder to start the engine. However, too much heat exposure may be a much worse scenario. 

Due to heat exposure, water evaporates at a much faster rate. The effect of the heat exposure may not be that obvious in the summer months. However, when winter months come, the battery becomes weaker as it tries hard to start the engine even if the water level inside is not ideal. 

The next time you park your car, find somewhere that is shaded. This doesn’t only help with your battery but it also helps make your exterior paint last longer. You can also find other ways to insulate your car battery. 

Regular Voltage Checks

When a lead-acid battery is left fully discharged or partially discharged, it’s lifespan will dramatically decrease. That is the reason why regular voltage checking should be done. This should be done monthly. The ideal voltage should be at 12.7 volts or above. 

When the voltage falls below 12.5 volts, it would be best to recharge it as soon as you can. Don’t get too complacent because of the decimal point difference. Remember that a dead battery is at 12 volts and a half charged one is at 12.4 volts. 

Use Your Car Regularly

If you think that the best way to protect your car battery is not to use the car at all, then you’re wrong. Unused car batteries will still lose their charge over time. This self-discharge is what happens to vehicles kept in storage for a long time. 

When you don’t use your car, it is also doesn’t recharge. Slowly, it will all be used up, especially if there are parasitic loads like the clock function. If you can’t use the car for a long time, use a trickle charger to help keep the battery in optimal condition.

Terry Wade

Terry Wade is a traveling Car Mechanic in Southfield Michigan. He's been repairing cars for nearly 20 years.
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TerrysArticles is brought to you by ME!, traveling Mechanic Terry Wade, I’m do my darndest to update the site with the best quality articles and news available on the internet and elsewhere to help you diagnose and fix your vehicle yourself.

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