Your vehicle uses an automotive battery to power the starter and other electrical devices. Without proper car battery maintenance, you may find yourself unable to start your vehicle.
Keep your car running smoothly and reliably with these routine battery maintenance steps. A few simple battery maintenance steps can help your battery last longer for a greater return on your investment.
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Monitor Its Age
Batteries don’t last forever, whether you drive your vehicle every day or infrequently. Monitor the age of your battery and your battery warranty. Once your warranty expires, your battery may be reaching the end of its life. Lead-acid automotive batteries typically last at least three years, but may experience reduced performance after five years.
The battery warranty length offers you additional peace of mind. Batteries with longer warranties may not be guaranteed to last longer than other battery types once the warranty has expired, so perform routine battery tests after your warranty has expired.
Keep It Clean
Corrosion can build up around the terminals of your battery. Corrosion acts as an insulator, which means it can prevent your battery from powering your electrical systems. Visually inspect your battery cables and terminals for signs of corrosion. Clean it using a professional terminal cleaning brush, a simple wire brush or even an old toothbrush.
Use care when cleaning battery terminals. Corrosion can burn your skin, so always wear gloves and safety glasses. You may need to use a baking soda and water mixture to thoroughly remove corrosion. Always remove the battery cable before cleaning with a water and baking soda mixture, and use a nonmetallic brush.
Once you’ve scrubbed the terminals and cables with a baking soda mixture, flush the area with cool water. Wait until it’s fully dry before connecting the cables. Be sure you connect the positive cable first, then the negative one, but remove them in reverse order. This will help prevent the risk of electrocution. Any damage to the terminals is a sign that you need to replace your battery. Use caution when handling your old battery and don’t attempt to repair a battery terminal.
Don’t Let It Fully Discharge
There are a few ways that your battery can become dangerously discharged. Under normal circumstances, your car’s alternator recharges your battery while the engine runs, keeping it topped up safely.
If you use electrical systems while the engine isn’t running, it starts to drain your battery. A damaged alternator can also cause your battery to drain with use. A fully discharged battery may not be able to be recharged. When in doubt, use a battery tester to see if your battery is capable of being recharged with jumper cables or a battery charger.
Have Your Battery Tested
Your local auto parts store has free battery charging services you can enjoy. Take advantage of this service to monitor the condition of your battery. When it reaches the end of its lifetime, you’ll also find affordable battery rates and free battery recycling at participating local stores. Stop by your auto parts store today to keep your battery well maintained.