The car battery is the heart of the vehicle’s electrical system – you really don’t want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere as a result of a flat battery. Here are some tips to help you to maintain the health of your battery thereby avoiding this type of scenario.
Firstly – ensure that you don’t drain the battery power unnecessarily:
- When you leave your car, do a quick check to make sure that no interior or exterior lights are on
- If you don’t use your car on a regular basis – keep the battery charge topped up by using a battery charger, or taking the car our for about an hour drive every week
- Make sure that you service your car regularly, and that the alternator and battery charging system is checked during the service
In addition, the following regular maintenance needs to be done:
- Clean your car battery terminals, remembering to loosen and remove the negative (- black) terminal from the battery first in order to prevent a short circuit between the battery post and the body of the car, followed by the positive (+ red) terminal. Then remove any corrosion from the terminals using water and a brush, then dry them. Reconnect the terminals in the reverse order – positive (+ red) first, followed by negative (- black).
- Check the electrolyte level in the battery. If you have a maintenance -free battery you can skip this step.
- Check the condition of the battery heat shields – these protect your battery from heat – extreme heat will result in overheating and swelling.
- Check the battery for any leaks, bulging or cracks
Vibration can limit the life of your car battery – the battery should be secured with an approved battery clamp to limit vibration. Very hot weather can cause the engine area to become very hot, and under these conditions, the heavy use of air-conditioners can also put the battery under additional strain – which may cause the battery to fail.
There are some causes of battery failure that you cannot prevent through regular maintenance (manufacturing faults, short circuits/dead cells in the battery and general wear and tear, for example) – but following the guidelines above will help to extend your car’s battery life and maintain its optimum performance.