Car batteries are the powerhouse of cars. A car battery jolts electric current to every single electric component of the car. Car batteries provide current to the electric motors. The vehicle is then propelled when the motor starts the combustion engine. Once the engine is powered, the car battery continues to supply current to other car’s electric systems. A healthy battery keeps the car running. On the other hand, a weak battery can cause you big trouble in the middle of the road. Car battery needs timely maintenance, just like the car itself does.
A few tell-tale signs of a weak car battery are as following:
- Headlights are dim
- The engine takes time to start
- The car is making some strange sound
If you have observed any of these changes, then it’s time to check-up on your car battery. A few tips for maintaining your car battery can save you big time, both time and money.
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1. Short Trips Are The Culprit
As previously mentioned, the car battery powers the car engine. With each ignition, the battery loses power. During the ride, the car battery regains its lost power by charging itself. The car battery needs sufficient time to get fully charged. Frequent short trips provide little time for the battery to charge and makeup for the depletion of power. Ride at least 10-15 minutes and avoid frequent short trips to save your car battery from draining.
2. Rarely Driving Your Car Is Killing Your Battery
If you do not ride your car often, this is bad news for the car battery. Lead batteries self-discharge if they remain inactive for longer periods of time. They will gradually drain. The lead battery self-discharges at the rate of 1% in cold temperatures and 1.5% in hot temperatures. If you do not use your car daily, use a charger to charge the car battery once in a while.
3. Fasten-Up Your Car Battery
Your battery should not vibrate or move while driving. Vibrations can significantly reduce your car battery life by causing damage to the internal components of the battery. Short circuits can also occur. Fasten the car battery tightly at its place to avoid any risk.
4. Ensure Optimum Acid-Level
Check the acid level of your car battery every six months to avoid acid stratification. Low battery charge can cause acid stratification. Anything below 80% charge is a red-flag. High-power-consuming accessories are one of the main reasons for acid stratification. Always switch off all the accessories before leaving your car.
5. Quench The Thirst Of Your Car Battery
Just like humans, car batteries need water too. Check the cell plates to look for the electrolyte level of the battery. If the cell plates are not submerged by 1/4th , then use distilled water to top up the low electrolyte level of the car battery. Make sure only to fill the cells to cover the plate. Do not overdo it.
6. A Healthy Battery Is Squeaky Clean
Always keep the top of your battery clean. It should be free from grime accumulation. A dirty car battery can lead to a mild short circuit by discharging across the grime on top of the casing. This can eventually flatten your battery.
Keep the corrosion in your battery terminal in check. You can clean it by using a mixture of water and baking soda and scrub it away with an old toothbrush.
7. Your Car’s Battery Needs A Timely Check-Up
Keeping a check on the voltage of your car allows you to track battery condition. Voltage of 12.7 volts or above indicates a fully charged battery. Recharge your battery at 12.5 volts. At 12.4 volts, the lead battery is considered half-charged, and at 12.0 volts, it is deemed flat.
8. It’s Time To Retire Your Old Battery
Over time, car batteries get worn out. Old car batteries have many safety and reliability issues. Change your car battery once every four to six years to ensure efficient functioning.
All these few tips can become the lifesaver of the car battery. Believe it; you do not have to be car-savvy to follow these tips to maintain your car battery.
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