Just like a morning cup of coffee rejuvenates you for the day, so does a car battery provide your vehicle the electrifying juice to spring into action. These small magical boxes are the lifeline of your car and therefore keeping them working at peak performance is crucial. Ideally, most car batteries have an average lifespan of 3-4 years but factors like excessive humidity, high temperatures among other environmental conditions could highly impact on how long they serve you. However, let’s assume ideal conditions – perfect temperatures and fair humidity. A few basic car battery care tips can save you an expensive service, tow charges and worst of all, the nightmare of getting stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Regularly check the water levels
Since car batteries need enough acid-water (electrolyte) ratio to function perfectly, make it a habit to check the water levels every 2 to 3 months. In the case where water is needed, be sure to use clean distilled water and be careful not overfill the battery cells.
Charge your battery fully
Are you the type that only takes short trips once in a while? Most likely, your car battery never charges enough during the short drives. The result can be a discharged battery that can embarrassingly leave you stranded and begging for a boost. Obtain an automatic charger and leave your battery to fully charge for several hours.
Clean the cables and battery posts
Did you know that rust free terminals are good conductors of electricity? Therefore, clean them regularly. Start by removing the connectors on the battery terminals and then loosening them with a wrench. Using a wire brush, scrape off any visible corrosion on the terminals and finally make them shine by brushing them with a baking soda paste. To protect the terminals from regular corrosion, coat them with multi-purpose grease.
Never ignore the insulator
When did you last check whether the car insulator was in place? Insulators protect the water in the battery from evaporating especially in the summer. Always ensure the insulator is in the right position to maximize the effectivity of your battery. In case your car is not equipped with an insulator, buying one is a worthy investment.
Be vigilant on the voltage levels
Normally, a healthy battery has a charge of 12.5 volts but to start the engine, 12.0 volts will do. You might not be aware, but overcharging your phone, leaving lights on or problems with the alternator could be draining your battery life. It is therefore important to be extra vigilant to ensure the voltage levels are ok. Regular professional charge level checkups can also help boost your car battery performance.
Your car battery life depends on two crucial factors; where you live and how you take care of the battery. Since you might have no control over the former, caring for your car battery should be on your regular car maintenance checklist. Most importantly, always have your battery checked by a professional during routine vehicle maintenance visits.