Batteries breathe life into an automobile. Without it, our car system will fail no matter how strong and durable the other mechanical parts are. Built to withstand harsh environments, our car battery puts everything at work by supplying the energy necessary to keep our engine running. However, just like the human heart, a car battery is also vulnerable to wear and tear, making proper battery maintenance a necessity.
Average Lifespan of Car Batteries
Climate plays an integral role in determining the average lifespan of car batteries. Running under a hot weather already releases high heat levels, which take a toll on the battery’s overall energy. This explains why car batteries used in tropical countries usually last for only 2 ½ years–a figure which is a little less than half of the average lifespan of car batteries in colder regions.
While climate is an uncontrollable factor, there are still a number of ways you can prolong your car battery’s life. As a car maintenance tip, below are some of the steps you can take to make sure you are fully optimizing your battery’s potential:
Limit Your Short Rides
It may be tempting to turn on your ignition for that quick trip on the nearby store, but this can actually hurt your battery more than you know. Short rides prevent your car battery from fully charging since its power cells were designed to charge within a specific time frame. Not giving your battery enough time to charge can greatly affect battery performance, especially when done frequently. Instead of making short trips a daily habit, drive your car for longer periods of time and make sure you are turning on the ignition every once in a while. If you don’t use your car that often, it’s wise for you to invest in a portable car battery charger.
Don’t Skip on the Monthly Car Inspection
Whether you’re buying a brand new vehicle or a cheap used car for sale, monthly inspection should always be at the top of your list, especially since metal elements like battery terminals are prone to corrosion. Although corrosion is a natural process that you cannot prevent, you can at least delay it by taking proper care of your vehicle.
Pro car maintenance tip: Wipe any corroded area with alkaline or acidic solutions such as cola or a DIY anti-corrosion paste (e.g., water and baking soda mixture) to slow down corrosion. Then, wash and wipe the area with damp cloth and apply petroleum jelly to further delay corrosion.
Turn Off Electronic Car Accessories When the Car is Idle
Car features that are electronically powered such as lights, radio and air conditioner are powered by the car battery and alternator when the car is turned on. Once the car ignition is turned off, however, the car battery is left with no choice but to power these features on its own. This puts enormous stress on your battery, which can in turn result to unnecessary wear and tear. Since car batteries are not built to supply energy to electronic device for prolonged periods of time, frequently leaving car accessories on while the ignition is off can dramatically shorten battery life.
Secure Your Car Battery
Upon inspection, check if your car battery is safely fastened so it won’t vibrate and suffer from short circuits. An unsecured car battery can cause internal damage, which can put you and your passengers at risk. Aside from securing your battery, always check if your battery cables and terminals are properly connected, most especially if you always travel on harsh road conditions.
Insulate Your Battery if Necessary
If you finally decided to buy that cheap used car for sale, do your homework by checking if you need to invest in a battery insulation kit, which is ideal if you are leaving in an area where a sudden increase or drop in temperature is a norm. As the name implies, a battery insulation kit is made up of thermal-resistant properties that can protect your battery while maintaining proper ventilation.
Pro car maintenance tip: Newer models typically come with these kits, but if you do not have one, check if the insulation kit fits your battery compartment so you won’t have problems with positioning and fastening your battery.
Test and Charge Your Battery When Necessary
Regularly test the voltage of your battery so you’d know when charging is in place. You can use a car battery charger to optimize your car battery level, but be careful not to overcharge it as this can either shorten your battery’s lifespan or cause an explosion.
Whether you’re buying a cheap used car for sale or a brand new car, you should always take a proactive approach in putting every important car maintenance tip into practice. A car battery may just be one part of your vehicle, but maintaining its overall condition is crucial in making sure that your car will run smoothly for the years to come.