Complete Guide to Taking Care of Your Car Battery

battery change service

Without a properly working battery, it does not matter how meticulously maintained your vehicle is, it’s not going anywhere. Your car battery is the essential component that will allow you to get from one place to another. 

All of the electrical system components, including the starting system, receive electricity from the battery to allow them to run. The battery also supplements power from the charging system during periods of high demand when the vehicle is running.

So it’s critical to ensure your car battery is running optimally and you do everything you can to keep it that way. To help you avoid having to replace your battery prematurely and deal with car battery costs, here are some of the best car battery tips that will help you get the max life out of yours. As well as how to tell when it might be time for a car battery replacement.

Ways to Extend the Life of Your Battery

There are some things you can work into your vehicle’s maintenance routine to ensure you are properly taking care of your battery. You want to get the most life out of it as possible. These include:

Limit the Number of Short Rides

The longer your car runs, the longer the alternator has to charge your battery. So, short car rides prevent the battery from fully charging. Doing this frequently means putting excess wear on your battery. You can help maintain the battery’s power by driving it for more extended periods. 

If you don’t drive the vehicle often, a portable car battery charger is a smart investment. If you end up stranded with a dead battery, these chargers can provide the jump-start you need without having to use another vehicle.

Don’t Let the Vehicle Sit for Too Long

You don’t want to let your vehicle sit for too long without driving it. If you do, the battery will drain down. The battery’s charge will be too low to provide sufficient power to start the car. Also, when it is sitting for extended periods, the battery’s fluid level will start to evaporate and will not be enough to allow the battery to hold a charge. 

Ideally, you want to drive your vehicle at least every three days to help maintain the battery.

Check All the Lights Before You Get Out

Accidentally leaving your headlights or an overhead light on puts a heavy drain on the battery and can quickly leave you needing a jumpstart. Make sure to check all of the lights before you get out of the vehicle to ensure everything is turned off or set to turn off automatically. It can also be helpful to park in a direction where you have to walk past your headlights to go to your destination, so you don’t miss them if they were left on.

Don’t Use Electronics When the Engine Isn’t Running 

To reduce the demand on your battery’s power supply while it isn’t charging, don’t use the radio, AC, or phone chargers when the engine isn’t running. Also, keep in mind that extended periods of engine idling can also wear the battery down.

Keep the Battery in Tight

If your battery is not securely fastened in its place it can vibrate excessively. This will result in internal damage and/or short circuits. Make sure to check the mounting brackets and battery terminals regularly to ensure everything is tight and properly positioned. This is especially true if you travel on bumpy roads often.

It’s also important to make sure that your battery cables don’t have a lot of room to move. These should be properly secured in place as well.

Keep the Battery Clean

Dirt, debris, and corrosion can get into the cells and quickly wear down a battery. So, doing what you can to keep it clean is a great way to extend the life of your car battery. The best mixture to use is a combination of baking soda and water. This will make it easy to clean off any crust when applied with a brush. Make sure though that you only use a little bit at a time. You don’t want the brush to be soaking wet.

After cleaning with this mixture, use a spray bottle of cold water to lightly rinse the mixture off. Then dry thoroughly with a clean cloth. Make sure there is no baking soda residue leftover, as this can cause corrosion. It’s also important that no fluid is allowed in through the battery ports when cleaning the battery.

 Test the Battery Regularly

Regularly testing the condition of your car battery makes a difference when you want to maximize its life. When you bring your vehicle in for an oil change or other routine service, make sure your battery’s output voltage level is checked also. This will help you keep track of how well it’s running and if you’re due for a new one. Also, ideally once a month you want to have your mechanic conduct a battery load test. This checks the battery’s ability to charge properly, even in extreme temperatures.

Maintain Your Whole Vehicle

Your vehicle is made up of many parts that all work together. The battery is just one part of a well-running car. So, making sure you are keeping up with routine maintenance services, like tune-ups, and properly storing your vehicle are ways to maximize your battery’s lifespan and the lifespan of your vehicle.

How To Know When It’s Time For A Car Battery Replacement

You cannot always foresee when a battery may die, no matter how well you’ve maintained it. Most car batteries last, on average, 2 to 5 years. So, here are some warning signs that indicate it may be time for a new car battery installation:

  • Slower engine crank: When you try to start the vehicle, it takes longer than normal to start and the cranking of the engine is sluggish.
  • Check Engine or Battery light is illuminated: Newer model vehicles have a battery light to alert you. Also, the check engine light sometimes illuminates if your battery power is weak.
  • Low battery fluid: Many batteries have a translucent part of the casing so you can see your battery’s fluid level. If the fluid level is below the lead plates inside, you should have the battery and charging system tested as soon as possible.
  • Swollen/bloated battery case: Excessive heat can sometimes cause the battery to swell, greatly decreasing your battery life.
  • Leaking battery: A leaking battery can cause corrosion around the battery’s terminals. The gunk may just need to be removed (as explained above); otherwise, your vehicle may not start.
  • The battery is old: Many batteries can last beyond three years. But, you should have its current condition and charging ability inspected every year after it reaches the three-year-old mark.

Expert Battery Services When You Need Them

If your battery needs to be serviced or it is time for a new one, the expert team here at Tire Works can help. Our experienced ASE-certified technicians can perform the battery services you need, from terminal cleaning to new car battery installation.

The Tire Works Total Car Care experts proudly meet the vehicle repair and maintenance needs of drivers throughout Nevada, all at the best prices. We use only the highest-quality parts backed by unmatched customer service. 

Count on us when you need battery services in your car, truck, or SUV. Schedule your appointment online today!

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