However, neglect can cut the lifespan down, and even leave you stranded with a flat battery in some instances.
To help you get the most out of your car’s battery, Euro Car Parts has provided five easy ways to keep your car battery happy and healthy – helping you to avoid inconvenient setbacks when you go to start the ignition, or unexpected costs if you have to replace.
1. Turn off all electricals
The easiest action way to prolong your battery life is to ensure your lights, radio and aircon are all turned off when you turn off the ignition. These devices quickly use up battery life, which is fine when the engine is running as the battery is being recharged. However, it can quickly drain the battery completely when active while the engine is off.
2. Avoid extreme heat or cold exposure
With winter on the horizon, it’s a good idea to identify where your car will be stored, and how you will keep it warm in freezing weather conditions. Although the car itself doesn’t mind the cold, motor oil thickens in colder temperatures which makes it harder to start the engine. This causes a bigger strain on the battery when starting the car and can increase the chances of draining the battery before the car has even started. If you’re unable to keep your car away out of freezing conditions, consider removing the battery and charging it elsewhere, ensuring it is at max capacity to start your engine in the freezing conditions.
However, the most common reason batteries fail during the winter, is because of the damage sustained over the summer. Heat is damaging because it increases the rate of evaporation from the battery cells. The cold weather then reveals the battery’s weaknesses as there is less power to heat the cold engines with the thick oil in the car. During the warmer months, park in the shade to help keep the heat from causing long lasting damage.
3. Keep it clean
Keep your car battery clean to ensure no debris can lodge itself into the battery, or cause corrosion on surrounding car parts. There’s no time limit on how often you should clean it, but when noticeable dirt starts to pile up, reach for an old cloth and wipe down the sides and edges with a water and baking soda solution.
4. Keep driving
If your car is left unused for a few days (e.g. over the Christmas period) you might notice it’s harder to start the engine when you go to drive again, as the battery may not have enough charge. This may also be the case if you’re only driving your car for short periods of time, as the battery does not get the time it needs to fully recharge. Be sure to drive regularly and for long periods of time, to get the most out of your battery life (at least once every week1).
5. Secure your battery
Keeping your car battery securely fastened is crucial, as ignore doing so means it can vibrate when in use, causing internal damage. Check your battery terminal regularly, especially if you frequently drive across bumpy roads as this can see the fastening dislodge. If you have attempted to start your car to no avail, you might want to try tightening your battery connections and try again.