Ask any car owner and they’ll tell you all about a harrowing experience they had when their car battery ran flat. We’ve all been there at some point in our lives, and no matter how modern your car is – you too could be susceptible to going through this experience with little to no warning.
All batteries have a limited life span and will eventually lose the ability to hold power. If you’ve just replaced your car’s battery, below are five simple and highly doable ways to extend its life as much as possible:
Reduce Heat Exposure
Most people think that winter is the harshest season for car batteries. While cold weather does make it harder to start your engine, it’s the summer months that do the initial damage to multiple parts – including the battery.
Extreme heat on batteries causes the rate of water evaporation from the cells to increase, leading to a weaker battery. Park your car in the shade as often as possible, if you can’t do that then look at ways to insulate the battery within the motor bay.
Standard car batteries naturally lose charge over time through a process called self-discharge. Whenever your car sits unused in the garage or parked in your driveway for more than a week, you run the risk of it going flat – even if it’s a new car.
If you’re planning on going away, connect a smart-charger to help decrease that risk. Ensure you get the right type because an old-style charger won’t do the trick. If you can’t get your hands on a smart charger in time, disconnect the negative terminal on the battery to reduce the risk of it discharging too much.
Use Electronics Sparingly
All batteries are happiest when they are kept as close to full as possible – particularly car batteries. Car radios, satellite navigation, and screens all drain batteries. Before exiting your car, always do double-check to make sure that all accessories are turned off.
Proactively testing your battery will give you a good indication of which accessories drain your battery the most – you can either reduce your use of these items or consider getting them a separate battery to operate from.
Get into good habits with battery maintenance for your car, that way your battery will last longer – and you’ll save money in the long run.
Avoid Constant Short Trips
Car batteries get given quite the workout each time you start your car -they get recharged by the engine during the trip. If you’re forever only driving short distances, the drain on your battery quickly outweighs the charge.
The daily repetition of driving short distances will steadily reduce the battery’s ability to hold voltage – ultimately degrading to the point where it won’t be able to start your car. Choose to make longer trips once or twice a week to make up for the shorter trips in between; the battery will thank you!
Keep Your Battery Fastened
You may think once a car battery gets installed, it will stay in place forever. Unfortunately, that is not always the case – particularly with older vehicles that have been through the most.
Only use approved battery clamps to ensure it gets held down properly. If the car battery is not securely fastened, the vibration from driving could damage its internal components and create short circuits.
A helpful tip for fastening battery clamp nuts is to tighten until you feel some resistance and then continue for an additional half-turn only.