When it comes to driving, there might be nothing worse than being stuck with a dead battery in the middle of the road. The problem is made even worse by the fact that modern vehicles show little to no warning signs. Sure, lead-acid car batteries have limited lifespans, but you can actually delay the inevitable by doing the following.
Keep the battery tightly fastened
Excessive vibration can reduce your car’s battery life, so you should always use the appropriate clamp to keep it properly held down at all times. If it is not fastened securely, too much vibration will damage the internal components of your battery, which will then cause short circuits that reduce your battery life.
However, over-tightening the clamp nuts can also damage your battery. Do not tighten the nuts as strongly as you could. Instead, simply tighten them until you start to feel the resistance, and then continue tightening it for only another half turn.
Keep the battery clean
The top of the battery of your car should always be dry, clean, and free of any dirt and grime. When your battery is dirty, it can discharge across the grime that has built up on top of its casing and create a mild short circuit that reduces your car’s battery life.
Regularly cleaning your car battery of any buildup also slows down the corrosion of the battery terminals. Make a mixture of baking soda and water and then use an old toothbrush to scrub the terminals with the mixture. Using a spray bottle filled with cold water, rinse off the mixture, and then dry it thoroughly with a clean cloth.
Minimize power consumption while engine is off
Your car battery is best when it is kept as close to a 100% charge as possible. So, you should keep headlights, taillights, driving lights, and any lights off while the engine is not running. Before you exit your car, always make sure that car accessories are all turned off. Double check that all your lights are off before you walk away, as well.
Do not take too many short trips
Every time you start your car, the battery gets a workout, but the engine will then recharge your battery during the journey. So whenever you drive a short distance, it is impossible for your battery to regain the power it lost. If you take short trips daily, the voltage of your battery will steadily reduce until it will no longer be able to start the car.
You should maintain the battery power of your car by driving it frequently, and for long periods of lime. If you do not drive your car very often, you have to invest in a battery charger to maintain its proper voltage.
Check the battery voltage every month
The longer a lead-acid battery is left partially or fully discharged, the faster its battery life will shorten. Keep an eye on the health of your car battery by checking its voltage using a voltmeter or multimeter once a month. A healthy and fully charged battery has a minimum voltage of around 12.7 volts.
If the voltage drops below 12.5 volts, you must recharge the battery as soon as possible. Keep in mind that a car battery is considered half charged at 12.4 volts, and completely drained or dead as 12.0 volts, so do not get too complacent about your voltage readings.
By simply making a habit of these practices, you are extending the life of your car battery greatly. Not only will it save you money on repairs and replacement, it may save you from accidents, as well. However, car batteries have a certain lifespan like anything else, so you should still be ready to replace it when the time comes, or else it can damage your car or even lead to accidents.