The Complete Guide to Car Battery Maintenance

The Complete Guide to Car Battery Maintenance

Did you know that having a weak car battery can do damage to your vehicle? If the car battery does not do its job, the other parts of the vehicle work extra hard to make up for it. This can be bad news for your car’s engine.

Batteries are one of the most essential components of a vehicle. Without the battery, your car would not be able to run! That is why car battery maintenance is so important.

How do you keep your car battery in good shape? Keep reading to learn more about car batteries and what you can do to ensure that your car battery lasts longer.

Average Car Battery Lifespan

Car batteries should last, on average, around three to five years. If your car battery is older than five years, you could start to face battery problems.

But, if you have had your battery for less than three years and it has problems, there could be another factor affecting the battery’s health.

One of the main factors that can affect the lifespan of a car battery is the outdoor temperature. If you live in an environment where it is always hot outside, the internal part of your battery could be damaged over time.

In cold environments, many batteries will exceed a lifespan of more than five years. Where you live could make a big difference in how long your battery lasts.

Warning Signs of a Failing Battery

Do you know how to tell if your battery is failing? Of course, the main sign that your battery has failed is if your vehicle does not start. Here are some other signs of a battery that is no longer performing as it should:

  • Dim car headlights
  • Clicking sound from the ignition
  • Check engine light illuminated
  • Radio electrical problems

If you notice any of these signs, you should have your battery tested. These signs could indicate that it is time to get a new car battery.

Car Battery Maintenance Tips

Now that you understand the lifespan of a car battery and the warning signs of a failing battery, it is time to review car battery maintenance tips. These tips will help ensure that your battery lasts as long as possible.

Inspect Your Battery Regularly

One of the most important tips for caring for car batteries is to inspect the battery regularly. Your car battery is something that you should check at least once per month.

When checking your car battery, make sure that both the battery and the cables are free of dirt and are not corroded. Having a buildup of dirt on your car battery can impact the connection between the battery and the terminal.

Clean the Battery

If you notice that there is dirt or corrosion on your battery during the monthly inspection, you should clean it. Wipe away any dirt on the battery or the battery cables.

To clean corrosion, you can sprinkle a combination of baking soda and water on the battery to neutralize the acid. You can use a wire brush to clean off corrosion on the battery.

Be sure to wear safety equipment, such as gloves and glasses, when dealing with battery corrosion.

Once you have gotten the corrosion off the battery, wipe off any remaining baking soda and water. If you leave this mixture on the battery, it could cause more corrosion.

Check the Battery Electrolyte Levels

The inside of your car battery will have a combination of water and acid. This combination is known as battery electrolytes.

To check the electrolyte levels in your vehicle, start by opening the top of the battery. After the battery is open, proceed by opening the cell ports. The cell ports store the battery electrolytes.

The electrolytes should be visible and level across all the cell ports. If the electrolytes are not visible, you will need to fill the cells with distilled water.

If you are not comfortable checking and refilling the battery electrolytes, you can ask your car mechanic to do it during routine service.

Drive the Vehicle Every Three Days

Another one of the best car battery tips is to drive your car at least every three days. If you leave your car sitting for too long, the battery will drain, and your car might not start.

While doing this occasionally may not have lasting effects on your battery, doing it all the time could result in your car battery not fulfilling its lifespan.

What do you do if you need to let your car sit for a while? If you plan on letting your car sit for a few months, you should consider safe car battery storage options.

Go on Longer Drives

While running your vehicle three times a week is important to preserve the battery, you also need to make sure that you are taking your car on longer drives. Just starting the car isn’t enough to recharge the battery.

To ensure that you get the most of your battery, go on drives that are at least 30 minutes long. By going on longer trips, you will allow the battery to fully recharge. If you only go on five-minute drives down the road, your battery will never completely refill.

Park in a Garage

Did you know that parking in a garage can extend your battery’s life if you live in a cold climate? Car batteries that are exposed to the cold use more power. This is true even when the car is not running.

It also takes more power to start a car in cold climates. Keeping your car in a garage is a great way to prevent the battery from getting too cold during the winter.

Make Sure You Turn off All Lights

While this may sound obvious, you need to make sure that your car lights are turned off when you turn your car off. Lights that are left on will drain the car battery and could result in the battery not starting.

If you make a habit of draining your car battery, it could shorten the lifespan over time. In addition to checking your exterior lights, remember to check the interior lights as well!

Service Your Car Regularly

There are many different reasons why your car should have regular service. Regular maintenance can prevent your car from falling in the future. When parts of your car begin to fail, they also can impact the performance of the car battery.

Because all parts of the car work together in harmony, the battery may overcompensate for other parts of the vehicle if they are not performing.

Get a New Battery Every Four Years

If your car battery is older than four years old, it could be a sign that you need to get a new battery. While taking care of your vehicle battery can improve its lifespan, batteries are not invincible.

Even if you have taken amazing care of your car battery, it still will need to be replaced. Changing out your battery when it is time will help ensure that your car keeps running as it should.

What Should You Do if Your Battery Dies?

You accidentally left your car lights on overnight and now the battery is dead. What should you do? First of all, don’t panic!

To get your car back on the road, you will need to give the battery a jumpstart. To do this, you will need to have jumper cables. If you don’t carry jumper cables in your car, you should because they are useful.

To jump your car, you will need to attach the jumper cables to both your car and another car. Once you have hooked up the cables, your car should startup.

If you know that your dead battery was a result of leaving the lights on, don’t make that mistake again.

Dead batteries that are a result of an unknown cause should be inspected. If you don’t fix the problem, your car battery may continue to die.

Do You Need Car Battery Maintenance?

Becasue car batteries are one of the most important parts of a vehicle, it is important to keep your car battery in good shape. A faulty car battery could result in dim headlights, your car could fail to start, and it could damage the rest of your vehicle.

Did you enjoy reading this article on car battery maintenance? If so, be sure to check out the auto category for more related car tips!