Everyone of us, who own a car or some kind of vehicle also have a car battery. The majority of us was dealing with a dead car battery in our lives at least once, which is not pleasant feeling. Some of you don’t even know that there’s a proper way of maintenance a car battery to extend its life.
Why does this matter?
Well, it matters because car batteries are quite expensive, and there’s no reason of buying a new battery every so often. It would be waste of money if you doing so. In this article I will explain to you what to do, and how to prolong a car battery life.
If you’re still interest in and want to find out more about how to properly maintain your batteries, this are my 19 amazing tips to extend car battery life right now.
1. Don’t use your car for a short trips regularly
One of the most common battery killer is regular short rides. What will happen is that your battery will discharge faster than it will charge. And after a while, your battery will be without any charge. And one day you will not be able to start your car engine at all.
If you still use your car for short trips daily, you can prevent your battery from discharging, for sure. And I will explain how. Once a week, on sunday for example, take your battery out from your vehicle and put it on a charger to fully charge your car battery. Leave it to charge for 12h to 24h, depending on your time available. This way you will start your week with a fully charged car battery.
2. Turn off all accessories while car engine is off
I know that this is tempting not to do, right? While you waiting for someone, you get bored, and beside your phone, only thing left to do is to turn radio on.
It is ok to turn radio on while car engine is off for a couple of minutes, but if you forget it your battery will drain and your may not be able to start your car.
You can’t prevent this from happening just by pushing a button, you will need to remember to turn radio off while it’s not too late.
And maybe, just maybe, if you happened to be that guy whom battery discharged because of a radio once or twice, you will develop sense of that bad habit, and you will simple not doing that anymore. Just saying…
3. Don’t leave your car just sitting there without using it for long time
If you, for some reason leave your car just sitting into your garage or yard for a long time, it will negatively affect, not just on car battery, it will affect your car engine too.
Oil will drain down to the oil pan and crankshaft with pistons will go dry, which is bad idea. But here we are talking about batteries.
If your car just sitting there, its battery will drain completely. You will not be able to start an engine.
If you for some reason need to leave your car for a long time, take out its battery, charging all the way up, and store it somewhere outside of a car in a garage for example.
This way when you put your battery back into your car, your engine will start easily. And also you will Prolong car battery life.
4. It’s best to turn off radio and all the other power devices while car engine is idling
You’re waiting for someone into you idling car, but your radio, a/c and headlights are running too. This is not a good idea.
You’re already parked your car, so it’s safe to turn off the headlights.
When car is idling engine is usually below 1000 rpm, which means that car alternator can’t supply enough power to supplies all of the running electronics.
And battery must kick in with some extra power to help. And that’s not good because you discharging your battery for no reason.
So, it is best to turn off all of the electronics inside your car, to save battery power for starting an engine for example.
5. Make sure that all accessories are off while starting your car
This is a different story. You will make sure that all of the power accessories are powered off before starting an engine.
If you for some reason leave some of the power accessories on, and then try to start your car engine, stater will work harder in order to start an engine.
You will hear longer turning of a starter.
Because accessories, when engine is off, running out of a battery power, so battery will not be able to supply starter with enough power in order to start an engine.
It’s best for your car if you turn off all your power accessories before starting a car.
That way battery will have enough power to give it to an engine starter.
6. After you turned off a car, make sure that you also turned off all of the car lights
There’s nothing worse than discharged battery because you forgot to turn light off night before.
Lights will drain your battery overnight to much, that your car will not be able to start an engine in the morning.
You wanna make sure that you turned off all of the cars electronic devices before you turn car engine off. And this is a habit.
Once you got used to it, it will not be a problem anymore. Just keep practice it. Always do this before you turn off your engine.
Make a list inside your head of what to do before turning off an engine.
And you will build habit overtime.
7. Don’t drain your battery
We already discussed this one. Short trips will drain your battery faster, and you should avoid it if you can.
If you still doing short trips, check above to see the solution. If you just leave your car to seat out there for a long time, this will discharge your battery too.
Also for this one check solution above. If it’s too cold, and you car its outside be prepared in the morning.
Your battery will work harder to supply power to computer and airbags. Battery need to provide more power because computer and airbags needs to be heated up to work properly.
So, if it’s too cold, make sure that your battery will have enough power. Took your battery out of a car, and charge it on a charger before night is come, when it’s to cold.
This way your battery will not drain all the way, and you can still start your engine in the morning.
8. There’s a proper way to store your car battery if you plan not to use it
If you just store your battery half charged, and just forgot it, it will not last at all. This is not a good idea, because:
1. The part which is empty will oxidize and will not be able to recover anymore.
2. It will discharge quicker and also oxidize that layer too.
Now, how to save car battery when not in use?
Before storing a battery fully charge it.
Store it somewhere in garage.
Every month or two, recharge a battery and leave it again.
This way your battery will stay healthy and will last a long time.
9. Make sure that your battery is secured inside the vehicle engine bay
Inside any vehicle engine bay exists place for a car battery.
This place have a strap or a metal clip to secure battery into its place.
What you need to do is to occasionally check if battery is getting loose into its place.
If battery is loose, positive and negative power clamps can detach from battery terminals and cut out the power, and that is not good.
So make sure to check it every now and then.
10. It’s essential to keep your battery clean
It is essential to clean your battery from time to time.
Just from a high humidity and dust your battery can be covered in dirt.
And if you just leave it like that it will build up layers of water and dust, which will turn into a light mud. Just be responsible and wipe your battery once a month to prevent it from getting to dirty.
11. Don’t leave a battery terminals corroded
Worse thing you can do is to leave a battery terminals and clamps corroded.
If you don’t pay attention on this corrosion, your battery will lose connection with clamps and will cut out a power.
With just an eye inspection you can notice a corrosion.
What you will do then is to use a wire brush or wire wheel to clean this corrosion.
And depending on a size of corrosion you may just need an abrasive part of a sponge to clean it out.
Always check if corrosion is present on battery terminals, because if you spot it soon you will be able to clean it much easier.
12. If your battery is covered in gunk, clean it
Depending on a place where is your battery placed inside an engine bay, it can be very dirty and gunky.
And if you have plastic cover for a battery and you don’t use it, your battery will get dirty much more than with cover on.
If this gunk build so much it will serves like insulator, but in a bad way.
Batteries get warm when operating, and if they build up a dirt insulation it will get more warmer than it need to be.
This way your battery will have shorten its life overtime.
It’s a good idea, every now and then to wipe your battery clean, to prevent this unnecessary dirt buildup.
This is also another way to extend car battery life just by cleaning.
13. If you see corrosion over a battery clean it immediately
Corrosion over a car battery are more common than you think. In car battery there are six cells, each of them is filled with a type of acid that serves as electrolytes.
Every cell have opening on the top.
This serves to vent out fumes from acid when is boiling to much.
And if alternator is bad, this can lead to regular overcharging, which will then lead acid to come out of vents.
This acid will then corrode on the top of your car battery, leaving a layer of corrosion.
Check once a month if your battery have this layer.
And if this layer is present, immediately go to a mechanic to check your vehicle.
14. Don’t expose your battery to extreme heat
Generally, heat is bad for your car battery.
But, extreme heat is too bad.
If you leave your car parked somewhere outside in the middle of the summer on direct sunlight, what will happened is that your entire engine bay will heat up pretty quickly.
And this is not good for a battery.
This extreme heat will damage your battery overtime, and you will pretty quickly must replace it with a new one.
It’s a bad idea to do this on a daily basis.
The only thing you can do is to park somewhere in shades, to protect your battery from overheating.
Your battery will last much longer if you protect it from an extreme source of heat.
But if you don’t have any other options you need to do what you need to do.
15. Test car battery voltage once a month
Whether it is new or second hand car battery, always it’s a good idea to test its voltage.
This way you will always be prepared to do the right thing.
If you drive every day short trips, your battery will not be at a proper voltage.
With a simple multimeter you can take a measure and see if you need to recharge your battery.
Recharging your battery when it’s needed will extend its life.
You can also take your car to a local mechanic shop to test your battery with a load tester.
So, if it’s a bad battery your car will not be able to start an engine, or it will struggle to start.
This load tester will tell you if battery is good or bad, or if it have just a little bit more of life.
But, multimeters are cheap, this days, so anyone can afford one and take a measure with it.
16. Take your battery to a professional to test it
Besides of volts measuring, I also covered a battery load test.
If you don’t have a battery load tester, you can go to a mechanic shop and they can do this for you.
If you have a battery that is old it’s better to do a load test.
Because this kind of test will tell you how much power your battery can give to starter to start an engine.
Car battery can still have good voltage but low power.
So, it’s a good idea to take it to a professional to check it for you.
With a fairly new battery you don’t need to do a load test, but overtime, when your battery ages, I recommend to do this kind of test.
17. Test your battery electrolytes level
Every car battery have six cells in total.
Newer batteries contain gel instead of liquid form electrolytes.
But, if you have a liquid acid electrolytes inside of your battery you can check it, and refill it if it’s needed.
Disconnect negative clamp from battery terminal and open caps from battery cells.
Inspect level of electrolytes.
If it’s below factory specs you should add distilled water to refill cells.
But remember, you must only add distilled water.
Do not add tap water under any circumstances.
Tap water contain minerals, which are not good for battery plates inside.
When you finish refilling battery cells, recharge a battery.
Take a negative clamp and tightly secure onto negative battery terminal.
And, this is how to check, and refill battery cells if it’s needed.
18. Make sure that battery terminal clamps are tight enough
If battery clamps are not secured enough it will get loose and fall off a battery terminals.
And you will end up with no battery power.
When you drive your vehicle, it produces a lot of vibrations, which will loosen up battery clamps and eventually fall off. From time to time, maybe once a month for example, you can check if battery clamps are tight enough.
If not, use corresponding wrench to secure it onto a battery terminals.
If they are not loose don’t touch them, leave them like that.
If you spot a corrosion, please clean it from terminals and clamps before putting it back.
19. Make sure that your battery is insulate enough
If you don’t have one, you can consider to insulate battery inside of your vehicle.
By doing so you will protect it from overheating that engine produces.
Please check online to get an ideas how you should do this.
But make sure to choose right materials for an insulation.