If you’ve ever had the pleasure (or displeasure) of having your car battery die in the middle of the road and having to call roadside assistance, you know that taking care of your car’s battery is crucial. Apart from the embarrassment, you also have to go to the trouble of recharging your battery and with enough time, you’ll soon end up with a dead battery with zero car battery life.
Vehicle batteries typically last up to 6 years but a lot of factors can affect its lifespan including time, heat and vibration, not to mention that replacing batteries is also very expensive! To get the most out of your car battery we’ve put together these 7 tips to extend your car battery life. Read on to find out what they are and start prolonging your battery’s life now!
10 tips to increase car battery life
Tip 1: Test your battery often
Did us mentioning a battery dying in the middle of the road bring back unwanted memories? Avoid that exact problem by making sure you test your car battery’s voltage often. That way, you’ll know if you and your car battery are cutting it close!
You can always go to your local mechanic to test it out, but you can do the job yourself with a voltmeter. Voltmeters are readily available and can accurately determine if your battery needs charging. A fully charged battery will usually display a reading between 12.4 and 12.8 volts. For truly accurate readings, try using your voltmeter at least twelve hours after your car has been turned off.
Tip 2: Don’t use electronics while idling
If you’re waiting for a mate or killing time in your car, it might be tempting to turn on your car’s entertainment system or keep your headlights on. However, doing just that can quickly sap your car’s battery.
The reason behind this is that when your car engine is off, so is the alternator. This means that instead of taking power from the engine and alternator, your radio and lights will instead take it directly from the battery, essentially reducing car battery life. It’s also a good reason to always double check you haven’t left your headlights on before leaving your car.
Tip 3: Clean your battery often
Remember when we said that heat can negatively affect your car battery life? When dirt, grime, gunk can build up on the battery and battery terminals causing it to overheat. It can also cause leakages and short circuits and interrupt the flow of electricity. All of these things lead to a flat battery and zero battery power.
That’s why it’s important to take time to clean your battery and rid it of build-up. You can use baking soda to neutralise corrosion and lead acid, and brushes to clean dirt and grime. You can also opt to take it to your mechanic to clean.
Tip 4: Reduce the amount of short trips
Short drives are the bane of all cars. We’re not saying that the odd short journey to the shops is bad. Regularly driving your car short distances however will eventually break your entire car, including your battery.
In specific regards to your battery, starting your car so often demands a lot from it, and only taking short trips doesn’t give your battery the time it needs to recharge before in between journeys. You’ll find that your battery is worn down quickly so try to avoid it!
Tip 5: Minimise exposure to heat
Back to heat! There is such emphasis placed on protecting your battery from the hot temperatures because it is so common. Extreme heat drains your car battery life because it increases the rate of water evaporation from the power cells. This makes it weak and you eventually end up with a car that sputters to start.
Much like protecting yourself from the sun, do the same with your car battery – park in the shade where possible and park it in the garage at home. There are also shields and pads that you can install to further protect your battery from blistering temperatures.
Tip 6: Make sure your battery is tightly fastened
Like we mentioned at the top of the article, vibration can cause your car battery to become weak. This is because the constant vibration and movement can damage the battery’s internal components and electrical systems, which might create short circuits and leakages.
Make sure your battery is securely fastened by tightening the screws and clamps that hold it down. Be sure not to over-tighten either as this can cause damage to the battery – which is the exact opposite of what you want! Just tighten the screws to the point where you start feeling an appropriate amount of resistance.
Tip 7: Get your car serviced often
Hit all the car battery birds with one single stone by getting your car serviced by a trusted mechanic. When taken in for a full service, a good mechanic will inspect every detail of your car including things that may potentially cut the life of your battery. When looking for a mechanic to service your car, always make sure to go to one that is trusted and reviewed well by other car owners!
Wave goodbye to sudden breakdowns!
With these 7 tips you’ll be able to drive confidently without the fear of your car breaking down due to shortened car battery life! Do you want more articles like this one? Or you’re looking for products that will improve your driving experience? Head on over to Seven Smart Auto where we have to transform your car into the car of your dreams!