Tips to Extend the Life of Your Car Battery
Make Sure the Battery is Tight and Secure
Your battery can come loose from its brackets, especially if you are driving on rough terrain like dirt roads. A battery that’s not secured properly, can cause internal damage and short circuit internally. Occasionally you should check that the battery is secure in its bracket and be careful if you decide to tighten it yourself. If you tighten it too much it can damage the battery. If you are in doubt have a mechanic tighten it for you.
Turn Off the Lights When You Aren’t Using Your Car
Double check headlights and overhead lights anytime you turn off your car. These can drain the battery if they are left on too long. If you forget to turn off your headlights often consider leaving a sticky note on your steering wheel to remind you, or park in a way that forces you to pass in front of the headlights.
Clean Your Battery
Something simple you can do is keep your battery clean. Corrosion on the battery terminals can cause electrical shorts. There are corrosion cleaning sprays or you can do it yourself with baking soda and a toothbrush. Mix equal parts baking soda and water into a paste. Apply this paste to the terminals using the toothbrush. Rinse them off with water. Make sure to wipe the terminals with a dry rag before reconnecting them so there isn’t moisture. This is something your shop should check and if corrosion is present, perform whenever they change your oil.
Be Careful When Idling
Be careful about idling. If you will be waiting for a while, turn off the car. If you do need to idle, turn off any appliances such as the radio, the air conditioning, seat heaters. This will make your battery last longer.
Take a Walk
If your destination is nearby your car battery will not have enough time to recharge while you drive. This can prematurely run down the battery. If you are only going a short distance, take a walk instead of driving. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid driving. Your car needs to be driven regularly for longer distances to keep the battery charge up to the proper level. Now you have a good excuse to take that picturesque road trip you’ve been thinking about.
Consider Your Climate
Car batteries may be less durable depending on the climate. Areas with hotter climates require more frequent battery replacements because the extreme heat will evaporate water from the cells. If you live in a hot climate, try to keep your car covered to protect the battery from the heat. You can park your car in a garage or carport, or parking garage, or even under the shade of a tree if that is an option.
Take Care of Your Car
Your car battery will not last if you aren’t taking care of your car overall. Try to keep your car covered and protected from the elements. Make sure to take your car to a mechanic regularly to make sure everything is functioning properly. If you’re taking great care of your car battery but keep forgetting to change your oil, it won’t matter when you’re stranded on the side of the road. All of the parts of your car work together and need attention and care.
Replace Your Battery
No matter how much love you put into your car battery, it won’t last forever. Car batteries last three to five years depending on climate. If you are having battery problems, it may be time to replace it. If you have a mechanic who you trust, this is a simple process. A reliable mechanic can let you know what you can do to extend the life, or if it is time to replace it. If you’ve taken care of your battery and you have a good idea of how old it is, you will know when it is time to take it into your mechanic instead of experiencing an unpleasant surprise while driving.