7 Tips For Improving Your Car’s Battery Life
There is little more frustrating than heading out in a rush, starting your car and… nothing.
A good car battery can last anywhere from 2 to 5 years, but if you are not careful, you can unintentionally shorten that lifespan.
Check out our 7 tips for improving your car’s battery:
Engine Off, Lights Off
A fully charged battery is a happy battery. If you’ve ever left your interior lights on overnight, you know that it can drain the charge right out, leaving you with no transportation.
Before you exit your vehicle, make sure all accessories are turned off, and double check that the lights are off as you walk away.
Keep It Clean
Battery terminals will corrode with time, but keeping them clean is a great way to prolong the life of your battery.
Dip an old toothbrush in a baking soda and water paste and scrub the terminals. Rinse by spraying with cold water, and dry thoroughly with a clean cloth.
Limit Short Rides
Your battery puts in a lot of work to get your car started, but gets recharged as you drive. Short trips don’t give it time to replenish any lost energy. If you take short trips on a regular basis, the battery will lose voltage steadily, until it no longer has enough juice to start your car.
To prevent this, be sure to take longer drives more often to give the battery adequate time to recharge.
Don’t Let Your Car Sit Unused for Too Long
If you are not planning to drive your car for a while or are storing it for a season, you should still start the engine regularly.
Turn it on and let it run idle for about 15 minutes once a week. This will allow your battery to recharge any loss that occurs from sitting.
If you are storing your car for an extended period of time, you can disconnect the battery completely. You can leave it inside the car, or store in a cool, dry location.
Whether you do it yourself, or have a professional do it, test your battery often.
A quick test with a multimeter on a regular basis keeps you informed on the state of your battery and could alert you to any problems, preventing an inconvenient breakdown.
To test your battery, first make sure your car is off. Take the multimeter, and connect the red lead (positive) to the positive terminal, and the black lead (negative) to the negative terminal. Turn it to the DC volt settings and read the results. A fully charged battery will read at least 12.7 volts, and 12.4 volts is a sufficient charge. Anything below that may accept a recharge, but if it doesn’t you will need to replace the battery immediately. 12.0 or less is a completely flat battery and will need replacing.
Watch Extreme Temperatures
There is a common misconception that extreme cold kills car batteries. While many batteries seem to fail in the bitter cold weather, it is actually because of damage sustained during heat of the previous summer.
Extreme heat increases the rate of water evaporation in cells, resulting in low water levels which will severely drain your car battery. To prevent this, you want to keep your car out of extreme heat and direct sunlight as much as possible. Park in the shade when you can, and make use of your garage, if you have one.
Your battery works extra hard to start your engine during the winter, which can also cause it to drain faster. Invest in a specialized insulation blanket to regulate the temperature of your battery in all seasons.
Fasten Your Battery
Vibration can cause short-circuiting and internal damage in your battery. It is important that you use an approved battery clamp to keep it securely fastened at all times. But be careful not to over-tighten! Simply tighten the clamp nuts until you feel resistance, then add half a turn.
Speedy Roadside Assistance in Utah
Dead batteries happen. When they do, you want someone you can count on to help you quickly fix it and get you back to your day.