CAR BATTERY MAINTENANCE - ESSENTIAL TIPS
Winter isn’t that far so now is the perfect time to check your car battery and make sure you are well prepared and set for the cold weather.
How often does a car need a new battery?
Though the exact lifespan of a battery is dependent on the vehicle and its condition, it’s safe to say most vehicles need a new battery every three to four years on average. There are number of factors that can shorten your battery life such as, frequent short trips or too many accessories left on or added. Look for a purchase date chart on the battery (it may be handwritten). The battery case will also have a decal stating its expected life.
5 signs you may need a new car battery soon:
- A SLOW STARTING ENGINE – if you’ve noticed that you have to wait a few extra seconds for the engine to turn over, start looking for a new car battery. This is usually the last gasp before a battery kicks the bucket as over time, the components inside it will wear out and become less effective.
- DIM LIGHTS AND ELECTRICAL ISSUES – your car battery supports all the electronics in the vehicle. The more things you plug into your car while driving, the faster your battery will die.
- CHECK ENGINE LIGHT IS ON –In most vehicles, the check engine light can mean just about anything, but it may come on also when your battery is running out of juice. So, if you see this warning on, you may want to have your battery tested by a mechanic to see if it’s working at full capacity.
- BAD SMELL OR VISIBLE CHANGES IN THE BATTERY CASE – Damage to the battery or an internal short can cause gas leakage. If you smell rotten eggs when you open the hood, make sure you have your battery checked out ASAP. Bear in mind that exposure to extreme heat and cold can actually cause a battery case to swell and crack. If your battery is anything but rectangular, chances are it isn’t working properly.
- CORRODED CONNECTORS – Notice a white, ashy substance on the metal parts of your battery? You’ve got a corrosion issue. Corroded terminals — the positive and negative metal connections on the top of the battery — can lead to voltage issues and trouble starting your vehicle.
If you want to save some money and change your car battery on your own, here are some battery installation tips for you:
- Check the owner's manual for specific instructions or concerns particular to the vehicle.
- Wear suitable protective equipment – you are working with electricity and acid.
- Disconnect the negative cable first. (Removing the positive cable first can cause a spark, and a possible explosion.)
- Don't force the connectors. If they just won't come off, take the car to a pro. You don't want to risk breaking off a battery post and exposing yourself and your vehicle to corrosive battery acid.
- Once you remove the old battery, inspect your cables and connections for cracks and corrosion. Replace the cables if needed; they can be found at any auto parts store. Even if they don't need replacement, clean the connectors with a wire brush.
- Apply a corrosion protection, also available at most stores that carry batteries.
- Dispose of the old battery properly at a recycling location.
- The new battery for your vehicle will come fully charged so you do not need to charge it.
If you are looking for a quality battery, simply check the automotive batteries we carry with free shipping.
WARNING! – Always wear eye protection and rubber gloves when working on batteries. Never smoke around them!
How to maintain a car battery?
It's a good idea to have your car's entire charging system checked once a year, especially after your battery is more than two years old if you live in a warm climate or four years old if you live in a cold climate. This includes the alternator, voltage regulator, belts, and connecting cables. Of course, don't wait until a year is up if you notice potential signs of weakness such as hesitant start-up.
Between routine servicing, check periodically to make sure the cables and terminals are snug and retighten as necessary for good contact. If your connections are dirty or showing a lot of corrosion, disconnect and clean them with a wire brush or cleaning tool.
If you have a sealed, maintenance-free battery with no removable caps, there's little else you need to do. If you live in a very warm climate and your battery has removable caps you can check the water level periodically, and refill with distilled water as needed.
Finally, if the vehicle is going to be parked or stored for an extended period of time, you may want to consider investing in a trickle charger to keep it charged.
With that being said, it’s a good idea to get your mechanic to check your battery next time your vehicle is in for regular maintenance. And remember, all vehicle batteries will need replacing — unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid it.