A battery is the beating heart of an automobile. From getting your vehicle started to charging your phones on-the-go, the battery is a silent comfort provider on all your journeys. Most car batteries have a life span ranging between 3 to 5 years, but multiple factors such as hot or cold temperatures, substandard maintenance, dirt, corrosion, etc. can reduce it further. There is nothing worse than being stuck in the middle of nowhere with a dead battery. We have all experienced it at least once in our adult lives. It is important to do your best to extend your car battery’s life.
Reliable Tips to Increase Your Vehicle’s Battery Life
You need to have a general idea about when to start considering the purchase of a new car battery. Also, you cannot control the weather conditions that adversely affect the battery, but can surely employ these five convenient safety practices to keep them working for longer.
Start Your Engine Without Frills
This is perhaps the easiest trick to execute. Many of us switch on the car’s headlights, fan, radio or entertainment system, before turning on the engine. All these items run on battery and drain it, especially during the winter months. The headlights of your car drain the maximum charge out of the battery. Make sure that you never turn the ignition on with your headlights switched on. As it is, the ignition required to turn on the engine puts the car’s battery under immense stress. The added pressure of keeping the headlights on will make matters worse.
Clean the Battery Terminals
Like other vehicle parts, your car’s battery also demands maintenance. We often ensure the smooth running of our wiper blades, cooling fan, engine, etc., but forget about the dust, debris and grime build-up on the battery’s terminals. Car batteries tend to gather a powdery discharge where the terminals meet the cables. To clean these terminals, first, remove the cables attached to them. Then blend water and two tablespoons of baking soda to make a paste-like slurry. Scoop this paste with the help of an old toothbrush and apply it over the fixed battery terminals. Now use wool or brush to gently scrub off the residue. After completing this process, wipe the terminals with a clean and dry towel and reattach the cables.
Do Not Leave the Vehicle Unused for Long
Say you drive for a very limited period of time in a month and the car stays parked most of the time. This will cause your car’s battery to discharge, thus reducing its life. Make sure you take your car for a spin at least twice or thrice a week and that too for a long drive. Doing this will provide your car’s battery enough time to fully recharge. Extended periods of infrequent vehicle use will make you have to install a new car battery more often than other frequent users.
Ensure Your Battery is Correctly Fastened
Car battery faces a lot of vibration, both from the engine as well as from the road. Make sure that your battery is tightly fastened by a good-quality, approved battery clamp. If it is not securely fastened, constant and excessive vibrations will damage the battery’s internal components causing short circuits and reducing its overall lifespan. However, do not over-tighten the clamp nuts as this too will damage the battery. Tighten them until you feel the initial resistance and then give the nut an additional turn.
Check Battery Voltage Periodically
Most cars use a lead-acid battery. The life of this battery can be cut-short with infrequent use as we discussed earlier. Therefore, keeping a cautious eye on your battery’s life by measuring its voltage with the help of a voltmeter every month will work wonders for your battery’s health. An adequately charged battery’s voltage should be around 12.7 volts or above. If the voltmeter is giving you a lower reading, you must get it recharged from an authorised car battery service provider as soon as possible. An important fact to consider here is that even at 12.5 volts, your battery’s charge is at its 50% mark. At 12 volts, it is considered completely flat or dead.
Maintaining your car’s battery is imperative. Without it, your car won’t start! A dead battery does not only render your engine useless, but it also costs money to jump start it. After three years, it is usually time to install a replacement. While replacing a car battery, make sure that you buy a superior-quality. branded product. Avoid going to a local repair shop willing to sell you a battery set for cheap without warranty. Beware of purchasing a car battery without a solid warranty!
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