How to extend the life of your car battery?

Would you like your battery to last not a year or two, but five or even seven years? So that there would be no problems with the car battery neither in winter frosts nor in summer heat? Following simple rules of care for your car battery you can be confident in its reliability in all conditions. Well, if your car battery and other car parts have fallen into disrepair, send your car in for recycling:

Did you know that the battery should serve 5-7 years? Or, like many of us, used to buy a new one in a year or two of operation? If so, our tips on how to extend the life of your car battery will help you save significantly and you will not be caught off guard by a sudden failure of such an important element of the car.

Why is car battery care so important? The battery in a car performs a number of functions. First, with its help the engine is started. Secondly, the battery ensures the operation of additional devices, even if there is not enough power of the generator. Third, the battery serves to provide energy to the car when the engine is not running.

What factors reduce battery life

Shortening battery life is affected by:

The battery is not fully charged all the time. For example, if you only use the car for short trips

Insufficient electrolyte level. The electrolyte evaporates quickly in the summer when its level drops, exposing the battery plates and causing them to oxidize.

The battery’s electrolyte density is low. In this case, at sub-zero temperatures, it will simply freeze, the plates will deform, and the battery will fail.

A badly secured battery may fall, the impact will cause damage and short circuit.

Vehicle wiring problems also reduce the life of the battery.

What to do to make your battery last longer

So what should you do to extend the life of your battery?

Check the electrolyte level. If it is low, add distilled water. The recommended level should be 10-15 mm above the plates.

Charge the battery periodically with a special charger. It is proven that the life of the battery is greatly reduced by keeping it discharged. The current to charge depends on the capacity of your battery. For example, a 55 Ah battery needs 5.5 amps. In winter, the battery needs to be recharged more often, about every two months. During the warmer months, it may be done after four months.

Ensure that the on-board electrical system is in good working order. Battery life is greatly reduced if resistance increases, resulting from faulty wiring, alternator, or voltage regulator.

Do not oxidize the battery terminals. If white deposits appear, wash the terminals with a solution of baking soda or remove them with sandpaper. You can also treat the terminals with a special product to ensure a good bond between the contacts.

Keeping the battery clean will help prolong the life of the battery. Dirt that accumulates on the battery is a conductor that causes the battery to gradually discharge and reduce its capacity. You can clean the battery with a rag, wiping the surface gently. If space allows, experts even recommend building a cover over the battery.

If you do not plan to use the car for a long time, you can remove the battery at all, charge it and store it separately or at least disconnect it by disconnecting one terminal.

After charging, the electrolyte density should be checked. For moderate climates it is 1.28 g/cm3. A low density will cause the electrolyte to freeze when cold weather arrives.

Inspect the battery each time you open the hood so that you can spot any malfunctions in time to correct them. Check the battery this way at least once every two weeks.

How to Service a Battery in Winter

In winter the load on the battery increases significantly, the battery discharges much faster. While in summer the problem may not manifest itself at all, in winter there is a risk of stalling in the middle of the road. To avoid battery failure at the most inopportune moment, you should follow the maintenance rules described above. Operation of the battery in temperatures below 20 degrees has some peculiarities, since in these conditions the battery is more prone to breakdown

snow, rain, other liquids are more likely to get on the body and reduce the level of charge;

in the cold season the tightness of the battery decreases;

the brittleness of the battery case increases;

there is a risk of battery explosion when connected to the network, if charging is carried out when the electrolyte is frozen.

Specialists categorically do not recommend using a discharged battery in winter. If your car is used for short journeys, turn off all power consumers (car stereo, headlights, etc.) and let the engine run before parking it.

In the winter, starting the engine is complicated by thick oil and frozen spark plugs. The starter needs more time to start the engine. Remember that you should not “twist” the starter for more than 15 seconds. 

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