The lifetime of your vehicle’s battery will vary depending on a number of factors. The type of vehicle and weather does impact how long it will last, however, maintaining your battery will boost its lifespan exponentially. Neglecting your battery and undertaking the wrong actions can even result in instant issues, or damage additional car parts beyond the point of no return.
It can cost you hundreds of pounds, if not thousands, to fix preventable issues, so it’s therefore in your best interest to learn maintenance tips. Let’s look into the maintenance you should get into a habit of doing now and for future vehicles.
Allow the car to recharge
Car batteries work by recharging throughout each trip. This means when you only do short trips, or rarely drive your car, the battery can’t build more power than the amount that is lost. Over time, the battery voltage decreases resulting in the inability to start the car. Each time the battery drains and the car needs to be jump started, it damages the battery.
Additional actions such as accidentally leaving the lights switched on when your car is off will decrease battery voltage too. While most cars will warn you if you have left your exterior or interior lights on, for those that don’t, it’s important to get into the habit of checking before leaving the vehicle.
You may be wondering how often you should drive, especially if you have multiple vehicles, work from home or live in a big city where you don’t need to drive everyday. It’s recommended you take your car for a drive for at least 15 minutes every second week. An alternative route is to purchase a battery charger to ensure the battery voltage is at a healthy level.
Clean your car’s battery
Neglecting to clean your battery will allow for corrosion to build up, which can damage the wires and terminals. If these electrical connections become damaged, you will need to replace the entire battery.
In addition, when debris disseminates across the casing, it can generate a mild short circuit and then drain the battery.
This damage can be avoided by simply cleaning the battery when you notice dirt sitting on top. Cleaning can be as simple as scrubbing the terminals with a toothbrush, baking soda and water. Spray the debris away with a spray bottle filled with cool water, then dry the entire area of the battery.
Use this time to double check clamps, clamps and screws are not loose or dirty. As an extra protective step, you can apply high temperature grease to posts and cable connections. Wear protective clothing while doing so.
Check warning signals
Your vehicle will signal to you whether something is wrong with your battery. While your battery should be checked each year in your service, if any damage occurs in between this servicing, the battery or engine light will appear on your dashboard. Or, you can check the State of Charge Indicator on the battery, which most vehicles have.
Now you have these simple maintenance tips, ensure you implement these into your car care routine to extend the lifespan of your battery.