Maintaining your car battery is easy but crucial to keeping your vehicle running at peak performance. In this short guide, we’ll reveal some basic techniques to extending a battery’s lifespan, battery maintenance, avoiding overcharges and reducing parasitic loads. We’ll also share some best practices that help keep your vehicle running smoothly.
Discover how to maintain a top-performing car battery below:
Car batteries are the most important piece of equipment of a vehicle simply because it provides the power needed to start your engine and operate the electrical systems. If the battery doesn’t work, you’re not going anywhere.
Like all batteries, car batteries have a limited lifespan too but with some simple maintenance, a car battery’s life can be extended and save you money in the long run. A properly maintained car battery plays a big role in maintaining the lifespan of other parts of the car too. For example, if the battery is not providing enough power to start the engine, it puts extra strain on the starter and will lead to potential damage or failure. This can all lead to additional repairs and replacements of parts which unnecessarily become costly.
The moral of the story? Keep your car battery maintained and the following information shows you how.
One of the most important things you can do to extend the lifespan of your car battery is to keep it clean. Dirt and grime can accumulate on the terminals and cause corrosion which reduces the battery’s ability to hold a charge. To avoid this, just make sure to clean the terminals every six months and a couple of time during the fall and winter months if necessary. To clean the terminals use a brush and a solution of baking soda and water and just brush any debris away. The baking soda and water mixture will help prevent long term corrosion.
Overcharging can cause a car battery to become damaged and reduce its ability to hold a charge. It’s important to use a charger that is specifically designed for car batteries and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging.
Reducing parasitic loads
Parasitic loads are electrical loads that draw power from the battery even when its turned off. Reducing these loads can help prolong the battery’s life. This can be done by turning off all lights and accessories when the vehicle is not in use, and unplugging devices such as phone chargers, GPS units, dash cams, portable coolers or fridges and power inverters. By disconnecting as much unnecessary devices as you can the better chances of your battery lasting longer and your car performing better.
Drive your car regularly
When a car sits idle for long periods of time, the battery can lose its charge and lead to a shorter lifespan. Regularly driving your car will help to keep the battery charged and extend its life. Driving your vehicle also helps maintain other vehicle components and avoid corrosion and other types of damage that can occur when a car sits for long periods of time. Regular driving also helps to circulate fluids, oils and coolants which can prevent buildups and prolong the life of these systems.
Just make sure to go on a longer than usual trip once or twice a week, and if you’re putting your car into storage, read these tips to preparing you car for storage so it runs in tip-top condition when you go to use it again.
The idea is to go on longer trips to allow the battery to reach a full charge and prevent sulfation (a common cause of battery failure). When the battery remains in a partially charged state for long periods of time, it causes sulfate crystals to form on the lead plates and reduces the battery’s ability to hold a charge.
Keep the battery secure
Being bumped around a lot can damage the battery and reduce its lifespan. The way to avoid this problem is by making sure that it is securely fastened to the vehicle. Over time, exposure to excessive vibration and jostling can damage the battery and reduce its ability to hold a charge.
Preventing this is as simple as ensuring the battery is firmly fastened in place—using brackets and clamps if necessary. You can also install a battery pad or an insulator to further reduce any vibration and thus help prolong its lifespan, and prevent the inconvenience of unexpected battery failure.
It’s also a good idea to avoid rough driving, potholes, and going fast over speed bumps because constantly bumping your battery around isn’t going to do it any favours either.