As you may already know, car batteries are an important part of your automobile. They provide the power your car needs to keep functioning, whether you need to start your car or charge your phone while on the road. We expect our car to start every morning and we often take it for granted until the day our battery dies and have it replaced, which you cost you almost $$$.
Replacement of car batteries is very expensive, especially because there are ways on how to make the most out of it for years. In this post, we will be talking about everything you need to know on how to perform proper car battery maintenance, along with some tips. Doing this task correctly is guaranteed to add more years to your car battery. Read on if you want to know more.
How Do Car Batteries Work?
How car batteries work is that they store energy in chemical form and are released as electricity when you need it. This chemical energy is used by your vehicle’s ignition system to power the engine, lights, and other car accessories. Interestingly, once the alternator fails, your car can run using the battery but only for a short period of time.
Generally, the alternators do keep your battery recharged if your engine is running. In addition, if you are also using electrical appliances with the engine off, your car’s battery will slowly run out of juice. In addition, due to the chemical content of car batteries, you need to take serious precaution when handling it, including wearing safety goggles and face shield.
How to Perform Battery Maintenance
Taking proper care and maintenance on your vehicle’s battery not only will prolong its lifespan but it will also ensure that your car will run as smoothly as possible. You don’t need to be a licensed professional to do this task. All you need is this guide to help you. Doing this job correctly will ensure that you can save up to $$$ cost entailed with a malfunctioning car battery.
1. Water Level
The first thing to take note of is that you need to make sure that the water level is adequate, especially if your car battery is an older type. It is quite simple to determine which one you have. On unsealed batteries, you can find small vent caps situated on top, which you can also unscrew easily. If you notice that the water level is not at the bottom of the cup, you need to replenish it.
However, areas wherein the tap water has a high mineral content, you need to use distilled water. This is your go-to water, especially if you are unsure if the water is soft or hard. To add, heat will evaporate the water a lot quicker, so you need to check the water level regularly during the summer. If the water level is too low, the heat will only destroy your vehicle’s battery cells.
The next thing that you must do is to check the terminals, one is marked negative (-) and the other one is marked positive (+). You need to disconnect the (-) terminal first before removing the battery and cleaning the connections. If you disconnect the (+) first, it might cause a spark and ignition, especially if you are using a tool made of metal.
If the terminals appear to have deposits on them, you need to clean them using a wire brush soaked in water and baking soda solution. In case you don’t know, these deposits block the electricity’s flow. Just make sure that you avoid splashing the solution onto the paint surfaces of your car. Lastly, check the cable ends. If it appears to be loose, you need to tighten it.
Another thing to make sure of is that the brackets that hold your car’s battery in its position are tight. Having loose brackets might cause it to vibrate when you turn the engine on; thus, it will shorten the battery’s lifespan. It is also recommended that you check the battery tray to see if there is corrosion. After all, the effectiveness of the tray will go undermined if there’s corrosion.
If you see that there is minor corrosion, you just need to brush it off and coat it with an acid-resistant paint. However, you need to replace the tray if it has been weakened due to corrosion. The overall condition of the brackets and the tray certainly will prevent further vibrations that are guaranteed to damage your vehicle’s battery.
The best equipment for recharging your car’s battery is the trickle charger, which should be left on for a maximum of 10 hours. If your battery is the unsealed type, you need to first remove the vent caps and place a damp cloth on the openings. Next, you need to attach the alligator clips from the charger onto your car’s battery.
The red clip must be attached to the (+) terminal while the green or black alligator clip must be attached to the (-) terminal. A different method is required if your battery is sealed, which has a charge indicator window found on top of it. It needs charging if you see that the window is dark or green while you need to replace it at once if you that the window is yellow or clear.
Tips on Battery Maintenance
Your car’s battery has an average life of about 4 years. So, if you want to extend its life, you need to take proper care of it. Here are some tips that you might want to follow:
- Using distilled water to fill the battery will reduce the accumulation of gas.
- Placing a damp rag over the caps before you recharge your battery is necessary, as it can prevent a fire from getting into the battery in case there is shorting in the (+) and (-) terminals.
- Avoid keeping inflammable liquid or gas near the car battery.
- Never place metal objects over the battery to avoid shorting.
- As mentioned above, it is very important that you disconnect the (-) terminal first.
- Connect the charger to the AC socket once you have connected it to the battery terminals. Doing so will prevent spark in the terminals.
The average life of a car battery is around 4 years. However, if you want to make the most out of your battery, it is necessary that you follow these simple and easy battery maintenance tips. As discussed, you need to check the water level, the bracket and tray condition, the terminals every 2 months and recharge it when needed.