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Tips for Maintaining Car Batteries 

 September 19, 2021

By  Phil Borges

Batteries are an essential component of our lives and can be found in many different types of devices we use. From cars to phones, there is no denying that batteries have become a common household item.

If you are a car owner, one of the last things on your mind is likely how to maintain your battery. But there are some ways to help ensure that you don't end up stranded and stuck with no way to get back home or even call for help.

Take the time to learn how to maintain your batteries to not experience any problems down the road. Read this article for tips from someone who knows all about batteries.

Importance of Proper Maintenance to Car Batteries

Maintaining and caring for your car batteries is essential. This will help ensure that your car is always ready to go when you need it. Even if the battery hasn't been used in a while, there are some simple and easy ways you can follow to avoid any problems with your car not starting or having an issue of being stuck on the side of the road.

Signs that your car battery is in good shape are:

  • The battery has been used for the last two years with no issues.
  • When you turn your car over, all four headlights come on and stay lit for a few seconds before turning off. 
  • The battery has been tested and passed all tests done by an auto repair shop or mobile mechanic.
  • A healthy battery will generally produce a voltage of 12.65 volts or higher with the engine running and load on the battery for at least 20 seconds.
  • No apparent leaks come from any vents, pipes, or other areas around the battery that could cause corrosion if not addressed immediately.

Signs that your car battery is failing are:

  • The headlights are dimmer than usual.
  • You have an issue starting up your vehicle, especially in cold weather.
  • It takes longer and makes more noise when attempting to start the car.
  • The battery died after working for a few weeks or months.
  • There is corrosion on top of the battery, such as white spots that are not easy to remove with an object like a pen cap.

Tips For Maintaining Car Battery

To keep your car battery in good shape and running at its best, be sure to follow these tips.

Regular cleaning of the battery terminals

  • Dirt is always a primary concern when working on cars because as soon as dirt comes in contact with metal surfaces, it will begin to corrode.
  • Keeping the terminals clean and free of any corrosion is essential because it protects the battery from being damaged, leading to other issues with your car down the road. The buildup of dirt or corrosion can cause a problem with voltage flow and decrease how quickly you charge the battery.
  • To clean the corrosion off, it is best to use a wire brush and some baking soda with some protective gloves to ensure that your hands won't be harmed. Take extra care when cleaning because you don't want the area to become too dry and create rust around the battery terminals.
  • Find the corrosion by looking for white spots or discoloration on top of the battery terminals. If you find any areas with these signs, take an old toothbrush dipped in water and sprinkle with baking soda and scrub away at the area until clean.
  • In addition to cleaning the battery with baking soda, you need to make sure that all residues are removed. Baking soda can cause corrosion, so it's important not to leave any behind and be cautious when pouring fluid into ports on a battery since this could also result in additional damage.

Acid level check

  • It is important to know the acid level in your battery. This can be done by checking with a hydrometer or conductivity sensor.
  • An ideal battery should read between 12 and 13 volts. A lower voltage would indicate a battery that needs to be recharged but could also mean corrosion and dirt on the metal posts causing an issue.
  • Every six months, check the acid level of your battery. Watch out for stratification, which happens when batteries are left on low charge or discharged too often and never fully charged. Your battery is in a heap of trouble if it's being drained. If you've got stratified batteries, the electrolytes will concentrate at the bottom and leave your top-most cells empty.

Adding water carefully

  • When adding water to your car battery, pour it in slowly. If you add too much at once, the acid will overflow and can cause damage to the car's engine bay or even cause corrosion on other metal surfaces like fuel injectors.
  • One typical reason for a battery to die is low electrolyte levels. If you notice that your plates are exposed, fill them with distilled water by using a funnel, only filling up enough to cover the top layer of cells. After ensuring that the water level is up, you can use a battery charger to recharge your car's battery.

Battery load test

  • A battery load test is an excellent way to see how well your charging system and the battery work together.
  • This will use up some of the power in the car's battery, but it can also tell you if there may be an issue with either one. If you notice that your voltage reading has dropped after performing a load test, you may need your battery replaced.
  • The best practice is to have a battery load test at least once a month to ensure that it can charge adequately, even in freezing temperatures,

Tidy the cables

  • Keep the battery cables neat and tied tightly to ensure that they are not interfering with the other parts of your engine. Having them in place will help to keep everything safe and sound.
  • Attach them securely and out of harm's way to not risk any wear and tear on them during driving.

Replace the battery after four years of use

  • If your battery is around the four-year mark, you should consider replacing it. Batteries can typically last between three to four years, depending on wear and tear or how well they are taken care of.
  • As your battery ages and moves into its later life cycle, the chemical reactions inside of it will slow down, which means that your car's alternator would need to work harder to charge up the battery. Eventually, this can lead to a dead battery.
  • From maintenance to safety, there are many reasons why you need to change your car battery. If you wish to avoid any more problems than just not starting the vehicle on time, it is always best to consider a replacement.

If possible, use your car on a regular basis.

  • Leaving your car idle for too long can cause the battery to drain. The recommended amount of time you should drive a vehicle is at least every three days so that battery doesn't get discharged.
  • It is essential to use the car regularly during the winter months so that the battery doesn't get too discharged, as this will lead to issues with your engine starting when needed.
  • It is hard to stay warm during winter, especially when your battery is trying its best to keep you from starting the engine. One way people have been combating this problem in car batteries is with battery heaters. These help cars startup better on cold days because they allow them to consume less power so their charge can last longer without running out completely.

Avoid overcharging

  • Overcharging the car battery may lead to damaging the battery and other parts of the car.
  • If you really want your battery to last a long time, then never over-charge it. Check on the battery every half an hour so you can monitor the progress.

Conclusion

Maintaining the battery in your car is an important step to ensure its longevity. You must take care of them to avoid costly repairs or replacements for not starting up when needed. Car batteries are a big part of your vehicle, and they can be expensive to replace if not maintained.

Monitoring how much you drive is also an excellent way to ensure that your battery stays in shape and working properly for as long as possible.

We hope that this article has helped you learned about car batteries and how to maintain them. Early detection of issues can help to prevent any potential problems, and you could save yourself some money.

About the author

Hi, I'm Phil Borges.. thanks for reading.. My wife says I can't shut up about batteries so to save my marriage I've started this blog .. where I'd be ranting about batteries! Please leave a comment if you have any questions, I'm happy to help!

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