How to Keep Your Car’s Battery Healthy

April 15th, 2023 by

From getting your ride started to charging your devices on the go, your car’s battery is an essential part of your vehicle. However, batteries can also cause a bit of hassle when they start acting up. The good news is that if you put in the effort to look after the battery, it’ll return the favor and keep you going. Here’s how to look after and keep your car’s battery healthy!

Key Takeaways:

  • Your car battery stores the electrical energy required to start the ignition and keep the car running.
  • Naturally, you’d want to avoid getting stuck by a dead battery, so you should keep your battery in good working condition.
  • Tighten the hold-down, clean the battery regularly, and use insulation to protect it from weather elements.
  • To keep your car’s battery healthy, drive the car often and unplug any appliances when it’s not running.
  • A good car battery can last more than 5 years. 

Check Your Battery’s Voltage

A lead-acid battery’s lifespan will shorten significantly if it’s left fully or partially discharged for long. Hence, checking the voltage once a month is an excellent way to keep your car’s battery healthy. A healthy, fully charged battery should have a voltage of 12.7 or above. Should the voltage drop below 12.5 volts, it’s recommended that you recharge the battery as soon as possible. It’s also vital to note that a battery is considered to be half-charged at 12.4 volts, and completely flat or dead at 12.0 volts. 

Take Occasional Long Drives!

Your car battery is given a workout every time you start your drive and is recharged during the journey. But short drives may not give your battery enough time to recharge properly. Since starting the car requires energy from the battery, frequent short trips might end up discharging it without any chance to recharge. And if you repeat the process daily, the battery voltage lowers steadily until it can no longer start the car. To maintain your car’s battery health, you should consider driving it frequently and for longer periods – consider taking your car for a longer spin (at least 20 minutes) every so often. 

Turn Off Accessories

A battery doesn’t simply start your car, it also powers many accessories when you turn on the ignition. One of the best ways of keeping your car’s battery healthy is to keep these accessories, like phone chargers, seat warmers, and air conditioning, turned off when starting the car. Keep in mind that you should also give your battery a break by avoiding parasitic drain. Parasitic drain happens when an electronic component in your car draws power from the battery when the car is off. That could be something as obvious as an interior light left on- so, be sure to turn off and unplug all accessories before getting out of the car. 

Tightly Secure Your Battery

It’s wise to regularly inspect your battery to ensure it’s tightly fastened all around. A loosely secured battery can have a shorter lifespan. That’s because a battery that’s loosely connected to its mounting bracket can cause a loose connection at the battery terminals or can be subject to excessive vibrations, which can damage the battery’s internal components, creating short circuits and shortening battery life. On the other hand, loose cables can create significant resistance to the flow of electricity between terminals. 

Clean the Battery Terminals

Car battery corrosion isn’t just unappealing to look at, it also has serious effects on the battery’s performance. Over time, the sulfuric acid inside lead-acid batteries can make corrosive materials build up on car battery cables and terminals. The greenish, flaky buildup will increase electrical resistance between the terminal and battery post, making the battery work harder than it should. Thankfully, keeping your battery terminals clean is a relatively simple task. Scrub the terminals with an old toothbrush dipped in a mixture of baking soda and water. Then, use a spray bottle with cold water to rinse the mixture off, and follow up with a thorough drying with a clean cloth.

Minimize Heat Exposure

It’s true that batteries work harder to start the engine during the cold months, but the main reason many batteries fail is typically due to the damage they sustained during the heat of the previous summer. Extreme hot temperatures are hard on batteries since they increase the rate of water evaporation from the cells (even in sealed-top ones). The cold weather then reveals these shortcomings because low temperatures will sap the remaining cranking power as it tries to start a cold engine with thick oil. To minimize heat exposure and prolong your car’s battery life, park your car in the shade or look for ways to insulate the battery from heat generated within the engine bay. 

Check Battery Expiration Date

Today, cars have a wide range of powered accessories, certainly more than the radio, heater, and headlights that were the standard devices of days gone by. However, most batteries are designed to last a few years (usually 3-5 years), and reputable manufacturers will guarantee that with a warranty. So if you notice your car requires a jump-start to get going, check its lifespan. If it has been under the hood for less than three years and you don’t often power a lot of accessories off the battery, check with the manufacturer or consult our experts to see what could be causing it. If the battery has been running for more than five years, it could be time to get a new one. 

Worried About Your Car’s Battery Health? Consult Our Pros!

A healthy car battery will stay out of your mind, but an unhealthy one can be a source of issues and headaches. To learn more about how to keep your car’s battery healthy, consult our auto pros. We’re vastly trained and skilled and will help you maintain your car’s battery life to ensure your drives are smooth and you don’t encounter frequent breakdowns. Call us now!

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