Just as you need your brain and heart for your body to be alive, your car needs a battery to work. Seems obvious enough, but usually what happens is we drop one in, or check it out once when we buy it and then forget about it until it’s already died on us. Doesn’t seem like such responsible way to treat a vital part of our car, now does it?
Like anything you want to run smoothly in your life, attention must be paid to it. Your car battery is no exception. Before you find yourself stuck somewhere paying for a tow or a new battery that you didn’t expect, save yourself the time and money by getting in the habit of checking your battery as the seasons change.
Know the Signs
There are specific warning signs that will let you know when it is nearing time to replace your battery. Dim headlights that get brighter upon revving the engine is a tell-tale sign. Very slow starting or one that doesn’t start at all will require battery check. Also, batteries only tend to last about 5-8 years so if you know yours is nearing that time, you will want to be extra cautious with preserving its life.
Take Long Rides
The alternator in your car charges your battery while driving, but if you are only using your car for quick trips around town, it is not running long enough to get a proper charge. Running your car like this is going to shorten the life of your battery. Make sure to go on longer drives so that your battery is getting fully charges while its driving.
Avoid Extreme Weather Conditions
If you live in a climate where it’s really hot in the summer or sub-freezing in the winter, these extreme conditions are going to affect your car’s battery. Secure your vehicle to avoid direct connection with the elements. If you have access to a garage, park inside. Extreme summer heat can react with the chemicals in your battery that can cause it to lose its charge or simply stop working.
Keep a Clean Battery
As a matter of habit, every time you open the hood of your car, check out the top of your battery. Clean off any loose debris like leaves or small twigs that can get stuck on top. Seasonally, you should get in the habit of cleaning the battery. Wiping down the surface area with a rag, especially around the charge terminals will help you keep an eye on the exterior of your battery.
One last thing: do make sure all interior lights are off before going to bed. It may sound silly but it’s always that one thing we overlook that drains the battery the fastest and makes us late for life the next morning.
Keeping on top of routine maintenance of your car battery is going to lengthen its life and keep you ahead of any real problems that could be potentially expensive.