Your car’s battery is a vital component that requires proper maintenance. The battery stores electricity and channels that electricity when you start the car. It also recharges itself with the help of the alternator and powers crucial components in the car as you drive along. A bad battery could lead to many car problems, including you not being able to start the car when you need to.
Regular battery maintenance can help keep your car’s battery working properly. The right maintenance steps can also help extend the life of your car battery by a couple of years. In this article, we are going to take a look at the simple tips you can use to maintain your car’s battery and extend its lifespan by a substantial margin.
Get to Know Your Battery
There are basically two types of car battery commonly found in old and new cars. The first one is called Absorbed Glass Matt battery or AGM. This type of battery doesn’t use wet cells to produce power. AGM batteries are also branded as maintenance-free batteries because you no longer have to check the water inside and refill the battery.
Wet-cell batteries, on the other hand, require a bit more maintenance. You have to make sure that the distilled water inside the battery remains at a safe level. There will be two lines that mark the minimum and maximum water levels; all you have to do is top up the battery to keep it working optimally.
If your car still uses a wet-cell battery, it is also a good idea to switch to a maintenance-free one. You only need to find a battery that has the same power ratings. Big car battery brands now offer maintenance-free batteries for different cars and you can pick Yuasa batteries up from online retailers such as hardwarexpress.co.uk.
Clean the Terminals
The terminals on your battery, as well as the cables connecting the car battery to the rest of the car, also need regular maintenance. Most of the time, corrosion on the terminals is the primary cause of battery issues.
Maintaining the battery terminals is actually very easy to do. First, you want to remove the attached connectors. Use a mixture of baking soda and distilled water to clean the terminal until all signs of corrosion are removed. The mixture needs to be thick enough – a paste of baking soda and distilled water does the job best – and you may need to use a wire brush for more severe corrosion.
Do the same with the connectors and you can reinstall them on the terminals once you are done. To prevent further rusting, consider applying petroleum jelly to the terminals after the connectors are installed. Petroleum jelly will keep water away from the terminals and will certainly prolong the life of the car battery.
Charging and More
Modern battery chargers now support quick charging, which means you can recharge your car’s battery in a few minutes should it ever die on you. Using quick charging too often, however, can shorten the lifespan of the battery by a substantial margin.
The best way to charge the car battery is by using a trickle charger. The charge is transferred at a much slower pace to better protect the internal battery cells. Trickle charging is also how the car’s internal alternator charges the battery as you drive along.
A good maintenance routine to get into is checking the battery’s voltage every two to three months. The ideal voltage is around 12.5V, but the voltage may be lower depending on the condition of the battery. A battery that can no longer hold a sufficient voltage will have to be replaced for the safety of the car.
Take the Car for a Service
Other battery problems may be caused by the car not working properly. When the car’s alternator is broken, for instance, every electrical device in the car is now powered by the battery directly. This means you will end up with a flat battery even after the shortest journey.
Problems like this need to be fixed immediately if you want to prolong the life of the battery and keep the car running properly. A battery that gets discharged frequently will lose its ability to retain power after only a short period of time; you may even end up with a broken battery after a few weeks of use.
Altering how you use the car also helps. Avoiding the use of the air conditioner or the radio when the engine is not running helps with keeping the battery healthy. You also want to avoid using the car in idle for too long because this too will wear the battery down much faster than you think.
Car battery maintenance is very simple. It is even simpler when you have a maintenance-free battery installed since you no longer have to refill the water inside the battery to keep it going. The tips we covered in this article will help you tackle the basic maintenance tasks and extend the life of your car battery substantially.