A car battery provides the life force your vehicle needs to operate. Without one, you can’t start your vehicle, let alone drive it. While most car batteries have an expected lifespan of about three to five years, there are things you can do to ensure they reach those benchmarks.
In essence, an automotive battery is a storage device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy. Most modern car batteries use a lead-acid design capable of providing a tremendous amount of on-demand current needed to perform several critical functions:
- Starting your vehicle
- Providing power to onboard electronic appliances (stereo, GPS, power windows etc.)
- Powering lights (headlights and interior lights)
Over time, your car battery performance will inevitably diminish. In Canada, in particular, many regions experience a combination of extreme cold in winter and extreme heat in summer. This has a significant negative effect on life expectancy.
For more on this read: How Temperature Affects Your Car Battery Performance.
To help you get the most from your battery, consider these helpful tips…
1. Start with a Well-built Battery
When it comes to buying automotive batteries, cheaper isn’t usually the best option. While it might cost less up front, you could end up paying for it in other ways:
- Shorter life expectancy
- Poorer cold weather performance
- Limited battery warranty
2. Store Your Battery When Not in Use
In order for a car battery to retain a sufficient charge, your vehicle needs to operate somewhat frequently. If your vehicle sits unused for extended periods, it’s a good idea to remove the battery and store it in a temperature-controlled environment. It’s also a good idea to place it on a trickle charger from time to time. This will keep it topped up and ready for use.
3. Keep Your Battery Connections Clean
Car batteries require a solid contact between the battery post and the terminals. This helps ensure a sufficient flow of electrical current from the battery to the vehicle’s electrical and ignition systems. To ensure good connectivity, it’s a good idea to:
- Clean the terminals periodically with a wire brush
- Remove any built-up corrosion
- Replace any frayed or damaged cables
4. Remove and Install Batteries with Care
If you need to remove your battery, do it carefully. Keep in mind that different batteries have different connection options. For post-mounted terminals, once you loosen the nut, gently twist the terminal side to side as you lightly pull upward.
When reconnecting a battery, seat the terminal firmly down on the battery post, and then tighten the nut without overdoing it. To help prevent acid corrosion, apply an appropriate type of grease.
5. Get Your Battery Checked
If you notice that your vehicle is sluggish when you go to start it, or you’re having other electrical issues, it’s a good idea to get your battery tested. In some cases, it might not be the battery that’s at fault. A trained automotive technician will help isolate the problem.
If your car battery is sluggish, come and visit your local Kal Tire store. With a quick test, we can determine if you need a replacement, or if there are other issues at play.