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Mason Shields, July 3 2018

Tips to help your battery last longer

  Make sure its terminal connections are clean, snug and protected from the elements.

Corrosion on the battery terminals can block the flow of electricity through the battery.  That can cause the starter to have to pull more amps to crank the engine over and cause the alternator to have to work harder to charge the battery.  Corroded terminals will also prevent the battery from being charged by the alternator.  If the terminals are corroded, you can clean them with a wire brush dipped in baking soda and water, plan water, coke-a-cola or an over the counter battery cleaner. 

 Now, check the battery cable ends. A loose battery cable does an excellent impersonation of a dead battery. If there is any movement of the battery cable end that is attached to the terminal, it is too loose and needs tightening.

Before cleaning the connections or removing the battery, disconnect the negative terminal first whenever you disconnect the battery cables from the terminals. Removing the positive connector can cause a spark.  That spark can cause a fuse to blow, and in some cases, it can cause the battery to explode. 

Important – before disconnecting the battery be aware that on newer cars you will lose keep alive memory in the computer which could affect the idle and many control modules will loose there programming and have to be relearned.  You might also activate the alarm system and in a few cases mostly with European cars you can lose the programming in the computer cause the vehicle not to start.

If you have any doubts do not disconnect the battery. 

Make sure the brackets that hold your battery in place are tight.

Loose brackets will cause the battery to vibrate when the car is running, and this constant vibration will shorten the life of the battery. It's also wise to check the condition of the battery tray for corrosion.  Corrosion over time can weaken the tray cause the battery to be loose.  If there's minor corrosion just clean it off with water.  If corrosion has weakened the tray then it should be replaced. The condition of the tray and brackets is vital to keeping the battery from tipping over under the hood – a rare, but not unheard of mishap. A secure tray can also prevent excessive vibrations from damaging the battery.

Limit Short Rides

Quick car rides prevent your car’s battery from fully charging. Maintain your car’s battery power by driving it frequently and for longer periods. If you don’t use your car often, consider investing in a portable car battery charger. These portable chargers can jump-start your battery without another vehicle in case you’re ever stranded.

Make Sure All the Lights are off When You Exit

Accidentally keeping your headlights and car door lights on can put a heavy toll on your vehicle’s battery. To keep yourself from forgetting, here are some tips – post a note on your dashboard, attach a sticker reminder on your car remote or park in a direction where you must walk past your headlights to get to your destination.

Make sure your battery stays charged up. 

The fastest way for a battery to go bad is to have it drained down multiple times.  Make sure if the car is going to sit for a period that you use a keep alive charger on it.  Also if there is a draw on the battery, then you will want to get that fixed.

Signs its time to replace the battery.

If you keep getting corrosion on the battery terminals that can be a sign that there is more resistance in the battery and it's not taking a good charge.  Also if you see corrosion on the battery itself or it looks wet, then the battery could be leaking acid and should be replaced. 

Also, remember the age of the battery.  A good battery should last four years or longer.  When a battery gets old though the lead plates inside get weak and can break if hit hard enough.  At that time you have a dead battery. 

Written by

Mason Shields

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