Make your car battery last longer
4 common reasons a car battery dies
1. Lights left on
This is the most common reason for a dead battery. Even a small light such as a glove box or rear reading light can drain your battery dry if left on long enough. Luckily, most modern cars are programmed to turn off interior lights after a certain time with the engine off.
2. Hidden power drains
Most batteries are designed to handle a constant power draw for things like anti-theft systems and remote keyless entry systems. However, there could be something drawing power from somewhere deep in the electrical system of your car, such as a poorly installed aftermarket stereo.
3. Corrosion or loose connections
Something could be preventing your battery from being properly recharged while you’re driving. Check that the positive and negative terminals on the battery are clean and in good shape. If they are full of corrosion (it can look like blue-green fuzz) or clogged with debris, they won’t be able to conduct electricity from the battery to your car’s electrical system. Loose connections can also cause problems.
4. Parked too long
Leaving your car parked for the winter while you go to Florida? It may well have a dead battery when you return. A small but steady stream of power is used for the keyless entry or anti-theft systems. With no opportunity to recharge, the battery may simply run out of juice.
6 tips for extending battery life
1. Limit short trips
Quick car rides prevent your car’s battery from fully charging. You can help maintain your car’s battery power by taking a longer drive from time to time. Or, consider investing in a portable car battery charger, which can jump start your battery without needing another vehicle in case you’re ever stranded.
2. Keep your battery tightly fastened
A battery that’s not securely fastened could vibrate, resulting in internal damage and short circuits. Have your battery terminal checked regularly – especially if you frequently drive on bumpy roads – to ensure it is tightly secured in the mounting bracket.
3. Turn off all lights when you get out of the vehicle
Accidentally leaving your headlights or interior lights on can drain your car battery. If you tend to forget, you could post a reminder on your dashboard, or park in a direction where you must walk past your headlights to get to your destination.
4. Control the corrosion
Keeping battery terminals clean from corrosive buildup can extend the life of your car battery. Corrosion can be cleaned off with a cloth or a toothbrush dipped in a baking soda and water mixture. Then, rinse the mixture off using a spray bottle with cold water. Thoroughly dry with a clean cloth. (Be careful not to inhale this toxin.)
5. Test your battery often
Test your battery’s output voltage level with a car battery tester to keep track of how well you’re maintaining it and if you’re due for a replacement battery.
6. Don’t use electronics with the engine off
When your engine isn’t running, turn off anything that drains the battery, like the sound system, heater or air conditioner. Extended periods of idling can also wear a battery down.
Promptly dealing with any battery problems when (or before) they happen will help extend the life of your car’s battery. With these simple tips – and a little luck – you may well be surprised at how long your battery can last.
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These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and The Personal cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.