Normally, a car battery lasts for about three to five years, however, there are several factors that can affect its lifespan. Such factors can include extreme weather conditions, not being connected to a consistent charging system, charging a large number of accessories in the car, and negligence in scheduled maintenance. Although, car owners cannot extend the fixed lifespan of the car’s battery they prevent the battery from dying early.
Given below are some tips that can help car owners improve the battery life of their cars.
Routine Inspection of a Battery
The battery of a car needs to be checked and maintained regularly so it is best to check the battery at least once during the month. Over time, the terminals of the battery corrode that leads to a poor connection between the battery and the vehicle. The corrosion is bound to happen, but regular maintenance can ensure that the build-up is cleared up. To clear up the corrosion, car owners can use an acidic or alkaline solution such as an anti-seize lubricant, soda, or a baking soda and water mixture.
Disconnect the cables and apply the baking soda solution to each terminal with a toothbrush. Then wash the area with water or use a wire brush to remove the residue and wipe with a clean rag. Rubbing petroleum jelly on the affected area can prevent corrosion in the future. There are also corrosion cleaners, terminal cleaners, and protection sprays that can be purchased for cleaning the terminals in case car owners do not want to use household items. You can follow the instructions mentioned on the cleaners to get the best results.
A car’s battery remains in better condition if the car is driven regularly. Moreover, car owners should avoid short trips as the car will not have sufficient time to recharge curtailing the battery life. In case car owners are not using their cars frequently, they should consider purchasing an absorbed glass mat battery (AGM). This type of battery is better equipped to managed parasitic loads. Another thing that can be done is investing in a battery charger that can be used to maintain the required voltage. If car owners know they will not be using the car for some time, they should consider putting the battery in a temperature-controlled chamber. They can also put the battery on a trickle charger so that it remains operational even if the vehicle is sitting idle.
Fasten the Battery Tightly
A car battery should always be held down properly as vibrations during the drive can affect the battery life. Use approved clamps to fasten the battery tightly. Otherwise, the components inside the battery can be damaged due to excessive vibrations. This can cause short circuits inside the battery that can reduce battery life. At the same time, make sure that the clamps are not too tight because that will limit the strength of the battery. To make sure that the clamps are not over-tightened or loose, car owners can tighten them till they start to feel resistance and then continue for an additional half turn.
When the engine is turned off do not put pressure on the battery by using any accessories such as a charger or headlights. All accessories that can drain the battery should be turned off before turning off the ignition. When the car is stationary and the ignition is off, car owners should check the climate control system, cabin lights, seat warmers, audio controls, and navigation systems. Similarly, when they start your car, they should make sure that all the accessories are off. If the vehicle has remote controls, car owners can also use them to ensure this.
Minimize Exposure to Heat
While cold weather takes a toll on battery health, extreme heat has adverse effects as well. Although, batteries have to work harder to start the car during winters the reason it is weak then is because of the damage that it has sustained during summers. Exposure to extreme heat is detrimental for the battery as the rate of evaporation of battery cells increases including the top sealed batteries. Following the damage done during summers, the cold temperatures further weaken the battery as it attempts to start the engine with thick oils.
To avoid excess exposure to heat, try parking the car under a shade and keep a close eye on the battery’s condition. Car owners can also look for ways to insulate the battery to protect it from the heat that is generated by the engine.
Test the Battery
This practice can help car owners reduce their chances of getting stranded on the road unexpectedly. To check the battery, connect a multimeter when the engine is turned off. Connect the red lead on the positive terminal of the battery and the black lead to the negative terminal. Then, turn on the meter and set it to DC volt settings. Check the results and if the voltage is 12.4 volts or more then it is charged and should not cause any problems. If the reading is below this threshold, then it should accept a recharge. If it does not, then it means that the battery is weak and car owners should consider replacing it.
In case car owners have been facing battery-related issues, they should take the car to a service center and get it evaluated properly. If the battery is more than three years old, then car owners should not delay an assessment by a professional unless they want to risk an untimely breakdown.
The life of a car battery is fixed, and it can shorten due to negligence or excessive use. Therefore, car owners need to make sure that they are careful with the battery. If they keep the tips mentioned above in mind, they can avoid practices that will put an unnecessary burden on the vehicle’s battery. To avoid any inconvenience, car owners should consider consulting a professional if they have limited knowledge about cars.