Top Car Battery Maintenance Tips
Did you know that neglecting your car’s battery can lead to a host of issues down the line from slow cranking to complete failure? That's why regular car battery maintenance is essential!
The question is, how do you maintain a car battery? If you’re wondering what steps you should take and have questions such as “do car batteries need servicing? or “how do you know when a car battery needs replacing?” Read on to discover everything you need to know about car battery maintenance and replacement in this useful blog post. 🔎
Why is it important to maintain your car battery?
Neglecting your car battery is like ignoring your own health. You wouldn't let your body waste away without proper care, so why treat your car any differently?
Maintaining your car battery is essential to keeping your vehicle running smoothly. Not only does regular maintenance help prolong the life of your battery, but it also ensures that your car starts up quickly and runs well no matter what the weather.
Don't wait until it's too late - make sure you're giving your battery the TLC it deserves all year round. Trust me, your car (and your wallet) will thank you for it! It’s not just the battery that needs maintaining either. Check out these other maintenance tips for your car you should be following.
How do you know when your car battery needs replacing?
There are a few signs to watch out for that could indicate you need a car battery replacement including:
- Your car struggles to start
- Loss of power to the car's electrics
- Battery warning light shows on the dashboard
- The battery is more than five years old
If you notice that your car is having a hard time starting up, or the engine is turning over more slowly than usual, it could be a sign that your battery is running low on charge. Sometime batteries do take the strain, especially in winter driving when you are using your lights and heater so much more. But if after jumpstarting your car and recharging the battery, the problem persists, it’s time to replace it.
A loss of power to the car's electrics, such as dimming headlights or a weak air conditioner, could also indicate that your battery is struggling to provide enough power to the vehicle.
Most modern cars have a battery warning light on the dashboard that will illuminate when there's a problem with the battery. If you see this light come on, it's a clear sign that you should get your battery checked as soon as possible. Not sure what the battery warning light looks like? Check out our car dashboard symbols guide.
While car batteries can last for several years with proper maintenance, they typically have a lifespan of around three to five years. If your battery is more than five years old, it's likely nearing the end of its life and should be replaced soon.
How to Maintain Your Car Battery
Whether you're using your car every day, or leaving it parked for extended periods of time, there are a few key steps you can take to keep its battery in tip-top shape. Here are some things you should consider doing on a regular basis:
- Clean the battery
- Check acid levels
- Do a visual check of the battery
- Check the water level
- Remove the battery when storing the vehicle
- Make sure you're using the right battery charger
Let’s look at each of these maintenance steps in more detail…
Clean the Car Battery
Dirt and debris might seem harmless, but they can wreak havoc on your battery's performance and cause nearby metal components to corrode. That's why it's important to clean the battery regularly.
To clean your car battery, you can use ammonia-based cleaners. Alternatively, use a mixture of baking soda and water applied with a wire brush to remove any crusty build-up or corrosion. Just make sure the brush is damp, not soaking wet, to avoid getting any fluid into the battery ports. Also, don't forget to wipe down the battery completely to remove any baking soda residue, which can go on to cause further corrosion.
Check the Battery’s Acid Level
Ideally, you should aim to check the acid level of your battery approximately every six months. One thing to be on the lookout for is acid stratification, which can occur when a battery is only charged to below 80%. This can lead to the electrolytes concentrating at the bottom of the battery, leaving the top empty.
If you have a stratified battery, you might notice your car struggling to start or experiencing a loss of power. This is especially true if your car is mostly used for short trips, and you use lots of electrical accessories.
Carry Out a Visual Check of the Battery
Sometimes, you can spot potential issues with a simple visual check. Without removing the battery from your car, look around and check for any signs of damage or corrosion. Ensure the battery's open vent or pipe is free from any blockages, and that the terminals and hold down clamp are tight.
If your car isn't used regularly, or you only use it for short journeys, it's crucial to carry out more frequent battery checks. This is because batteries naturally discharge over time, even when the ignition is off to power things like the alarm system. If the battery level gets too low, you may find yourself struggling to start your car.
Check the Battery’s Water Level
To keep your battery healthy, it's a good idea to check the water levels regularly. Check that the plates are fully submerged. If the plates are exposed, it's a sign that the fluid level is low. In this case, add distilled water to the battery until the plates are covered. Avoid using tap water as it contains minerals that can affect battery performance.
It's recommended to check the battery fluid level at least every six months or when your car needs an oil change.
Remove the Battery When Storing Your Vehicle
To prevent excessive draining of your car battery during extended periods of disuse, it's recommended that you remove it from the vehicle. Once removed, make sure to fully charge the battery every three months to ensure optimum performance when you need it again.
Ensure You Are Using the Right Charger
Last but not least, it's important to keep your car battery charged to ensure it's in good working condition when you need it. That's where a battery charger comes in handy. When looking for a battery charger, make sure it's compatible with your car's battery. A good battery charger can help prolong the life of your battery and save you money in the long run.
That’s a wrap!
By following the simple car battery maintenance tips above, you could save yourself a ton of stress (and potentially a lot of money too). Regular maintenance helps to prolong the life of the battery, as well as ensure you aren’t left stranded from a random breakdown.
At Carmoola, we’re passionate about saving drivers money wherever we can. To save even more, why not consider switching your current car finance loan to us? It takes as little as 8 minutes to refinance your loan with us, and best of all – you can do it right on your smartphone.