How to extend the life of your car battery

How to extend the life of your car battery

There are few more annoying inconveniences than discovering a flat car battery. It’s happened to the best of us, especially during long lockdowns. With the holidays coming up and the possibility of a long summer road trip now a possibility, the chances of catching a flat battery kilometres from home in the hot summer sun are increased. Lead-acid car batteries have a limited life span, just as the batteries in your phone or laptop do, and will eventually lose their ability to hold the sufficient charge needed to start your car depending on a host of variables, from climate temperature to journey lengths. That’s why we’ve put together 7 hot tips to consider to get the best out of your battery and keep you and your car out of the garage.

  1. Avoid short trips

The way your battery works takes a lot of power to start your car. Then, during your journey, the battery is recharged by the engine. So, it only stands to reason that if you commonly drive short distances it won’t give your battery enough charge to regain the power lost. Surely but slowly repeating this process will reduce your battery until it can no longer start the car.

  1. Keep battery tightly fastened

Excessive vibration can damage the internal components of your battery. Don’t make the mistake of an unsecured car battery. Ensure you have an approved clamp holding it in place, but also don’t overtighten. The rule is to turn the screw until you feel the resistance begin and then continue for one additional turn.

  1. Minimise power usage when the engine is off

Listening to music or leaving the lights on as you’re waiting to pick up a friend is something most of us do. Unfortunately, batteries prefer to be kept as close to 100% charge as possible. So try to restrict your battery use when the engine is off. Also, take extra care to make sure nothing is left on overnight as every time you get a flat battery it can decrease its effectiveness in the long run.

  1. Keep battery clean

They say cleanliness is next to godliness. Your battery agrees. Keeping the top free of moisture, dirt and grime is a proven way to prolong your battery life. A dirty battery casing can create a mild short circuit which will eventually flatten the battery. Clean over time with an old toothbrush and some baking soda/water mixture when your car is off.

  1. Minimise heat exposure

Car batteries indeed have to work harder to start your engine during the colder months, but the reason many fail during winter is because of the heat damage they sustained during the summer just gone. Extreme heat increases water evaporation from the cells, even in sealed top batteries. So, where possible, park in the shade and use your garage to help insulate the battery from harsh heated conditions.

  1. Check battery voltage once a month

A full charged lead-acid battery should read 12.7 volts or above. A battery is completely flat at 12.0 volts. So by checking your voltage monthly, you can maintain it remains above 12.7 – anything below 12.5 could do with a little recharge.

  1. Don’t leave car unused for long periods

Working from home for long periods might mean not having much use for the car sitting in your driveway. Regardless of needing to use it or not, a 30-minute drive once a week should be enough to keep your battery charged and in a decent condition. Leaving it stagnant will always result in a flat if for a prolonged period.

Contact us today for any battery-related questions or need cheap car service in Auckland.