By Wang’ombe Kibunja
The last thing you need is when your car won’t start because the battery is dead. A car battery is vital to your car’s life, and if you do not take care of it, you will find yourself getting more car problems because of your negligence. Why, you ask? Your car battery is the central power hub of your car and all its electricals. Your battery works with many parts in your vehicle, and it can harm them if it is severely damaged. The battery, if not maintained properly, can shut your vehicle down completely.
Tightly fastening your battery
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When your battery is not tightly fastened and secured, it could vibrate, possibly resulting in internal damage and short circuits. Having your battery terminal frequently checked, especially if you regularly drive on bumpy roads, will ensure your battery is fixed tightly and properly positioned. Your battery cables mustn’t move, so be sure to keep them tied tightly. It will help to keep everything properly secure.
Being careful when adding electrolyte on Lead Acid Batteries
If you notice that the electrolyte levels are low like when the plates are exposed, top them up with distilled water. Be careful when doing this and only fill the cells to cover the plates to the level indicated. It is advisable to use a funnel as it allows you to control the flow. Once you have topped up the water levels, use a battery charger to recharge the battery. If you do not have a Battery charger, have a technician test the battery and do the maintenance for you.
Often test your battery
Always knowing the condition of your car battery is a step closer to maximizing your battery’s life. Testing your battery’s output voltage level with the car battery tester to keep track of your battery’s health and to know if you need a new one. When having your car serviced, also have the battery checked.
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Keep your battery charged
Batteries that are under-charged or rarely used will slowly go flat over time, which will lead to a reduction in your battery’s life. It mostly happens when cars are left unused for long. It is essential to keep a battery charged to ensure long life. If you charge your battery manually, it is important not to over-charge as this can lead to damage. It is advisable to check on your battery every half an hour to see how it is progressing.
Turn off electronics when idling
You should turn off functions like your radio and your air conditioner when parked with the car off so as to maintain your battery charge and how long it runs. It will help to put less wear and tear on your battery power.
Care for Your Whole Car
As mentioned, your battery works together with many parts of your car, hence making sure you are taking your vehicle for frequent tune-ups, and properly storing your vehicle will help your battery’s life. The battery is just one component of a well-running car, so make sure to properly maintain all parts of your vehicle to extend its life and the life of your battery. Have your fuses checked regularly, your starter motor and alternator should also be checked to avoid stress on the battery.
Change after four years
Replacing after four years is recommended, which ensures that your vehicle runs properly. It would help if you remembered this. There is nothing worse than losing power mid-journey, so do not extend the battery’s life longer than you should.
Keeping the battery warm
When the battery is in a cold place that is bad news for your battery, it is essential to keep it warm during cold weather conditions. Before starting your car when it’s very cold turn the ignition key and switch on your headlights for a minute or two to start flow of current from the battery to warm it up, this also creates time for the fuel pump to prime, then start the engine. This not only make it easier to start the car but also helps to minimize the power consumed.
Turning off your headlights and car door lights when not in use
Keeping your headlights and car door lights on is not good for your battery. When left on, they can put a heavy toll on your car’s battery. To avoid forgetting to turn off the lights, it is advisable to put a note on the dashboard and even your car remote, reminding you to turn off the lights. It is a healthy way of maintaining your car battery and you won’t need to jump start your car every time you leave it parked.
Battery terminals oxidize over time. Corrosion can be stopped by but keeping them clean, which is an excellent way to prolong your car battery’s life. A dirty battery surface can lead to discharge and corrosion. You can easily clean the surface by scrubbing the terminals with a toothbrush dipped in a baking soda and water mixture. Then, spraying cold water and finally rinsing the mixture and thorough drying with a clean cloth, apply petroleum jelly or grease on the terminals to reduce corrosion and caking on the terminals. It is important to avoid spilling oil or grease onto the top of the battery.
Remember proper maintenance of your battery not only avoids headaches when your car won’t start but also saves you money, your car electronics are kept safe, you don’t have to change your battery before its due and you won’t keep bothering the whole neighborhood as you look for someone to jump start your car every morning.
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