It is delightful to travel in a car; on the other hand it can be a nightmarish experience to find yourself in one that has teething electrical issues like failure of dashboard components, improper air-conditioning, malfunction of airbags, parking sensors, etc. Most of these troubles are generally associated with car batteries.
Right from stabilizing power to electrical lighting, batteries remain the constant source of energy in your automobile. Under normal circumstances a new car battery can last for 2 to 3 years. However, certain corrective and preventive measures can increase its life span by a few more years. Listed below are some such tips:
The primary rule for battery care is - use it or lose it. A healthy battery is one that is used regularly. Not driving your car for lengthy periods of time can make the battery weak and affect performance, thereby shortening its productive life.
Avoid very short trips
A large amount of electricity is supplied by the battery every time the car starts. Once started, the battery's internal charging system immediately sets forth to recharge the reserves and requires at least 20 minutes to fully charge the battery. Experts strongly recommend this full charge cycle for enhancing battery life.
Hence, when a car is used for shorter distances, the battery is unable to get the full charge cycle, thereby affecting efficiency. Needless to say, avoid shorter trips unless necessary. You can perhaps walk or even cycle short distances!
Car engines and batteries work hand in glove for giving you fuel efficiency, seamless pickup and optimum performance. Hence, servicing the engine regularly will help enhance battery life. However, a weak and neglected battery will negate such efforts, as weak batteries pressurize the alternator generating excessive engine load. Religiously follow the maintenance schedule provided by the car manufacturer and you should do just fine!
High power audio systems, add-ons like multi-pin chargers, external portable devices and other such accessories should be used sparingly as they drain considerable amount of power. Ensure that they are unplugged when not in use.
Look out for stain or corrosion signs on the battery. If you see such marks, get the battery inspected immediately as marks like these indicate a possibility of leakages. Also keep an eye out for accumulation near or around the terminals.
Maintenance and Cleaning
If you think that cleaning your car battery is a job only for the mechanic, think again. Dust off dirt and keep dampness away by wiping the battery case with a thick dry cloth. Ensure that you do not disturb the battery poles or clean off the lubricants at the touch points.
Simple Do's and Don'ts
Contact a service centre if the battery emits a smell of rotten eggs i.e. sulphuric acid or if you come across the typical smell of overheated metal.
Be vigilant if your battery is more than 4 years old. It is on overtime and can malfunction anytime.
Always keep the car battery dry.
Avoid a short charge by never placing metal articles on the battery.
Insist on getting the battery checked every time you service your car. Simple electronic testers can easily gauge a battery's condition.
So there now, your car battery's health is largely in your hands!