Preserve Your Car Battery Life With Correct Maintenance And Care
Don’t give your battery an early death sentence. Start caring for your battery today
By looking after your car battery, you should be able to get 3-5 years of reliable service. Luckily, maintaining your battery in optimum health is relatively easy.
Now, you might sit there thinking, ‘my car's got a maintenance-free battery, so you don’t need to worry. Even maintenance-free batteries will benefit from some TLC.
Batteries have a limited life, so make sure you get the most out of it
It’s important to remember that car batteries are consumable items. Eventually, they will run out and need replacing.
But there are many things that you can do to increase the life of your battery.
Read on to discover 9 top tips to care for and maintain your battery.
9 Top tips to extend car battery life through care and maintenance
1. Avoid only making short trips
Driving short distances means the alternator doesn’t have time to replace the charge used to start your car. The maths simply doesn’t add up. You’re using more battery power to start the car than you’re replenishing from the alternator.
If you regularly only drive 5-10 minutes to the shops or work, the battery is likely undercharged.
Aim to take your vehicle for a nice long drive of at least one or 2 hours every few weeks. A longer drive allows the alternator to charge your battery. Plus, it's a terrific excuse for a drive.
2. Move it or lose it. Don’t stand still
Having your vehicle in storage or only using it infrequently is not good for your battery, and the rest of the car.
Now more than ever, many people work from home. While this may be great for zooming in your PJ bottoms, it's bad news for keeping your car zooming along. The sedentary life means the battery doesn’t get a nice healthy dose of charge from the alternator.
So, what about if you’re going on an extended holiday? Well, you lucky duck, get a friend to take your vehicle for a long drive once a month. Or invest in a charger that can stay connected continuously. Some charging setups even use solar panels that allow your vehicle to remain locked.
3. Don’t use power without the engine running
When your car engine is off, don't keep using the power. Running the air conditioner, radio or phone chargers when the engine is off will keep using battery power. Be especially careful when camping or watching sports.
Seb Keane, Battery World national product manager’s number one tip:
4. Regularly charge the battery with a charger (and check the voltage)
Previously, as a roadside assistant, Seb spent many a call-out solving other people’s battery dilemmas. When I asked him what his top battery maintenance tip was, he didn’t skip a beat:
“Every 1-2 months, hook your car battery up to an approved battery charger overnight. Or when you suspect your battery’s struggling. You can leave modern ‘smart’ chargers on overnight. They switch off automatically once the battery’s replenished.”
As well as a charger, investing in a Multimeter is useful. Testing the voltage once a month can give you early warning signs.
Pop into a Battery World store or check out their products online to find the most suitable battery charger.
5. Clean and inspect
Pop the bonnet and look at the battery. Is there dirt, mud or grime on the battery? It’s surprising how grimy it can get under there. Show your battery some love by wiping away this mess with a rag.
Now, look closely at the metal terminals with the clamps on them. Do they look like they've got some corrosion around them - white or a blueish-green powder? Corrosion and dirt will inhibit the charging and operation of your battery as this will create a poor connection. Carefully remove small amounts with a dry cloth or toothbrush. Seek advice from your local Battery World expert if there is a lot of corrosion.
6. Wiggle, jiggle, wobble – don’t do the battery bounce
While under the bonnet, check that the battery feels as snug as a bug in its holder. Give it a little jiggle. If it feels loose, it’s time to tighten it but not too tight. You should not be crushing or damaging the battery case.
7. Minimise extreme temperatures
This next one can be hard in Australia, the land of extremes. But extreme temperatures can make it difficult for your battery. If possible, try to limit exposure to very hot or cold conditions, especially fluctuations between them. Can you park in the shade or use a carport or garage?
8. Regular servicing
Having your vehicle serviced helps the whole car perform at its best and detects potential problems early.
9. Free battery check
And if you’re ever unsure or have a concern with your battery, come on in for a free battery check at your nearest Battery World store. That's right; we'll test your battery and advise if you need further maintenance or if it's time for a new one.
Follow these tips so it’s not “the end” for your battery
So, there are many things that you can do to show some love for your battery. A little TLC and maintenance go a long way to increasing the life of your battery. And can help avoid the frustration of being stuck with a flat battery at the most inconvenient time.