Before we go into the “how to do car battery care?”, it’s essential to know the “why”.
Your car battery’s primary function is to start your vehicle. It does so by providing the electric current to “ignite” the internal combustion chamber of the engine.
Once you’ve started your car, the battery also powers your car’s electronics – infotainment system, lights, camera, sensors, powertrain, etc. Finally, it keeps the electrical current stable and prevents voltage spikes that can harm the entire vehicle.
Things to Remember in Car Battery Care
1. Do not expose it to extreme temperatures
High temperature increases the evaporation rate of the electrolytes inside the battery. Meanwhile, freezing temperature can freeze the fluids inside.
Therefore, it would be wise to check on the heat shields and proper ventilation during the summer.
2. Clean the battery terminals
Muck build-up on the terminals can lead to poor flow of electricity from the battery. Wipe the dirt or grease with a clean cloth. Then, you may apply silicone grease or dielectric grease on the terminals to prevent further build-up.
3. Perform regular maintenance of the alternator
The alternator turns mechanical energy from the powertrain into electrical energy that regularly recharges the battery.
4. Keep your battery fully charged and replace it after 3 to 5 years
You may also need to recharge the battery manually once in a while to keep it healthy and prevent sulphate build-up (which weakens the battery). Check your car manual on the proper charger and charging method to use. Be sure not to overcharge the battery too.
Further, a typical car battery lasts about 3 to 5 years. It is, therefore, necessary to replace the car battery not after this period.
5. Turn off all electronics before leaving the car
Some vehicles have alarms that go off when you forget to turn off the headlights or other electronic devices in your car. Still, double-checking your electronics is an excellent habit to maintain to prevent sudden battery discharges.
6. Inspect the battery for leaks, bloating, and foul smell
A foul odour caused by sulphur pouring out of the case may mean a leak. Once damaged or leaking, the only recourse is to replace the battery to prevent accidents and further damage to your car.
Meanwhile, bloating of the battery is a tell-tale sign of overheating.
7. Start the engine every three (3) days
To prevent your battery charge from draining, drive your car around at least every three (3) days.
Is it Time to Change your Car Battery?
Here are some signs of car battery problems:
- Difficult starts and sluggish crank
When it takes a few attempts before you can start your car or the engine’s crank sounds sluggish, it may mean that your battery lacks charge or has some damage somewhere.
- Fluctuating electronics
See if the lights on your dash flicker or inexplicably turns on and off.
- Check engine light is on
- Low fluid level
Some car battery brands allow you to see what is happening inside the case. Other car batteries also have gauges to show their charging level.
If you encounter any of these, check it immediately for leaks or damage. You may also inspect the terminals for muck and check if you attached the connectors correctly. A quick look at the alternator and charging system may reveal the cause of the problem.
Recharging the battery is one recourse, but please refer to the car’s manual on the correct way to do it. Most of the time, though, car battery replacement is the best way to go.
Our Final Word
Car battery care may seem simple and easy enough to do, but we’re all guilty of neglecting to do this regularly.
One way to build the car battery care habit is to have a device that can monitor your battery all the time. One of OBD2 Australia’s most popular car tools is its Bluetooth 12V wireless car battery monitor. Install this device (which takes less than 5 minutes), download the Android or iOS app, sync, and see your battery’s real-time condition straight from your mobile device.
It would also be handy to have a car battery tester and charger on your tool kit, right?
As every journey begins with a single step, it is also true that every car ride springs with a successful start. So, make sure your car battery is always in tip-top shape.