Caring for Your Battery
If you have ever jumped in your car to turn on the ignition, only to find the silence of a drained battery meeting you, you are probably familiar with the sinking feeling that comes immediately after. Not only does a dead battery slow down your day, but it could possibly leave you stranded in bad weather, in areas that aren’t so safe, or in areas with little to no access to help. While you certainly feel helpless in that position, there are certain care strategies and tips that will give you the most out or your battery’s life.
These care tips will preserve your car’s battery life for as long as possible. While these will help your car run longer, remember that it is always important to routinely service your car to ensure that all fluids, the engine, and tires are running how they should.
Park in a garage.
While not everyone has garage access, if you do, it is important to park indoors. Extreme heat and cold can drain your battery and cause it to lose its charge faster. This will eventually deplete the battery’s ability to hold any charge at all.
Insulate the battery.
If you do not have access to a garage, a great option to maintain your battery life is to invest in a battery insulator. An insulated battery is protected from extreme weather and helps the battery extend its life.
Keep your battery clean.
It’s inevitable that grease, dirt, and debris cause build-up on the battery’s clamps that leads to corrosion. Since a dirty battery connection can weaken the charge, make sure to inspect the clamps and clean off any and all residue. You can do so with WD40, a wet cloth, or a paste made of baking soda and cold water. Remove the clamps, clean off all residue, and let dry before placing them back on.
Test the battery.
This is a simple step that will tell you a lot about your vehicle’s battery. Most auto-shop repair stores and shops will test your battery at little to no charge. This way, you will know the status of your battery and can plan to replace it accordingly.
Make sure the battery is secure.
This one is a no-brainer – a loose battery that crashes against other parts of your engine is obviously not good. Not only will a loose battery rumble around under the hood, but it also has the potential to spill battery acid over your motor. Along with keeping the battery clean, make sure it is secure and sits in its place correctly.
Keep in Mind
As they say, knowledge is power, so we wanted to equip you with a few more notes that are good to keep in mind. Here are a few things to keep in mind about car batteries:
Car batteries die with age.
A well-maintained battery may last for five or more years. With that being said, they will die with age. It’s a good idea to remember or have a sense of when your battery was purchased. Also, as stated before, it is a good idea to routinely test your battery. This way, you will better be able to predict when you need a new battery, rather than having a dead one slow down your day.
When you forget to switch off lights and electrical devices, the battery will drain. Before turning off the engine, make sure all interiors and exterior lights, wipers, and other devices are off.
Use your car.
Do not leave your car stationary for a long time. If you don’t use a car that often, be sure to use it every five days or so to ensure the battery is charged and the engine is running smoothly.
Buy a good battery.
Investing in a quality battery will probably save you money and time in the long run. It is tempting to skimp and opt for a cheaper one in the beginning, but it may not give you the same performance level. You’ll be glad you invested in a better quality one, in the long run.
Keep a set of jumper cables on hand.
While they won’t save you from a battery that needs to be replaced, having a set of jumper cables, or, better yet, a battery charge pack, will help you get from point A to point B in a snap.