Have you ever left your vehicle parked or unused for an extended period only to return and find grinding noises or the engine refusing to start? All too common, such a situation demands professional service; however, it is one that can be easily avoided by taking some preventative measures. The root cause is most likely the car battery which does slack when the car is left unused for a long time.
If your vehicle has to be parked for a significant amount of time, you must prevent the car battery from getting discharged.
The Crucial Role of a Car Battery
Your car battery is the central hub of power for your vehicle. It provides the jolt of electricity necessary to power every single electrical component in your car – radio, interior lights and headlights, heating/cooling systems, charging sockets, etc. Not only that, but a car battery also maintains a steady electrical supply for the smooth functioning of your vehicle. If your car battery is not functioning correctly or has gotten discharged, your car won’t start. This is the reason why your car fails to start when you leave it unused for an extended period.
However, here are some parking practices that you can follow to extend your car battery’s life.
Ensure All Lights are Switched Off
Many times, car owners end up leaving the car’s interior lights turned on after parking their vehicle; this causes the battery to discharge faster. This momentary lapse can be quite detrimental to a car battery’s life as it could drain out completely, especially if the lights are left on overnight or for an extended period.
If you tend to leave your car lights on after parking, you can stick a note on your dashboard to remind yourself to turn the lights off. Alternatively, you could also develop a habit of walking in front of your car to check if the lights are turned off. Also, when leaving the parking lot, make it a point to turn around to cross-check if the lights are off. This way, you can maximise your car’s battery life.
Save More when Idling
It’s always a better move to turn off your air-conditioner, music system, or radio when your car is parked, and the engine is dormant. Many car owners have the habit of leaving their AC or music system running when their vehicle is parked. When the engine is inactive, the alternator shuts down, and these electronic components draw power from the car battery to run themselves. This creates a massive drain on the battery, which could eventually lead to discharge. Moreover, this also damages the car battery in the long run. So, turn off all electronic devices when idling.
Disconnect Battery Terminals
If you aren’t using your vehicle for long intervals of time, it’s a good idea to disconnect the battery terminals to prevent discharge. The reasons being that when the engine is turned off, contemporary cars continue to use the battery’s power to keep on-board computing systems, car alarms, clocks, radios, etc. functioning. When you disconnect the car battery, you cut off the power supply completely, thus preventing power discharge. However, you should be aware that every time you disconnect the car battery, you will have to reconfigure some of your car’s features, such as the radio’s tuning or you might find that your trip odometer has been reset (depending on the car model).
Note – As disconnecting the car battery switches off the car’s alarms, it is better to abstain from disconnecting battery terminals if you live in a theft-prone area or do not have proper security measures in place.
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