Your car battery is a crucial part of your vehicle and the last thing you want, is to be stranded somewhere because of a dead car battery. In fact, without a battery, your car would not function at all. It powers your engine, lights, radio and more. Because of this, it is very important that you understand what you can do to extend its lifespan.
On average, car batteries last from 3 to 5 years. And unfortunately, reaching those limits are not a guarantee. While some of the things that reduce the life of the battery, like weather, are out of our control, there are several things you can do to help keep that zap of electricity running longer.
CLEAN THE BATTERY
Like most car parts in your vehicle, your car battery needs periodic maintenance and cleaning. Batteries naturally get dirty over time, especially where the cables meet the terminals. In addition, it is important to ensure that the top of your battery is clean and dry. If a battery is too dirty or corroded, it can do damage to itself.
While there are special corrosion cleaning sprays and battery terminal cleaning tools that can help with the process, you can mix water and baking soda to make a cleaning paste for your car battery. After the mixture is applied to each terminal, you can use a brush to wipe the paste off with cold water and then dry with a towel afterwards. This should do the trick!
AVOID SHORT TRIPS
Did you know that avoiding short drives can extend the life of your battery? Quick trips do not give your battery enough time to fully recharge. By driving for longer periods of time, you can maintain your car battery’s power and extend the life of your battery.
AVOID LONG PERIODS OF CAR BEING UNUSED
Like the last tip, if your car is left without being driven for long periods of time, your battery will lose its full charge. If you don’t use your car regularly or often, and are concerned about the life of your battery, consider purchasing a portable automotive battery charger. These are excellent for emergencies because they can jump start your battery without another vehicle.
DOUBLE CHECK YOUR LIGHTS
Have you ever left your headlights on overnight in the driveway? If so, you know this can do a toll on your car’s battery life. Always double check when you leave your vehicle that your headlights and overhead lights are turned off. If you have a habit of forgetting to do this, try leaving a note on your dash or parking in a position where you will have to pass your headlights to get to where you are going.
BE MINDFUL OF ACCESSORY USE
Accessories can drain the life of your auto battery. Accessories including the radio, navigation systems, air conditioning and heat, heated seats, and overhead lights. A helpful tip is to make sure all of your accessories are turned off before starting your vehicle.
TEST YOUR BATTERY REGULARLY
While this won’t necessarily extend the life of your battery, it is important to know its condition to avoid getting stranded due to a dead battery. That being said, it is wise to test your battery regularly. You can find out its output voltage level with a car battery tester to keep track of how much life it has left.
If your battery reads 12.4 volts or more, then it should continue to accept and hold a charge without problem. However, if the reading is below 12.4 volts, the battery may not be able to accept a recharge. If not, replace the battery as soon as possible to avoid failure.
CARE FOR YOUR CAR AS A WHOLE
Your car is a machine comprised of many different parts all working together to run and keep you safe. While the battery is one component that you can extend the life of with proper maintenance and knowledge, caring for your whole car will ensure that you max out your vehicle’s life.
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