Let’s face it. We all owe a debt of gratitude to our car battery. The battery starts the show, gets your day, or your week, off to a great start, and keeps the in-cabin tunes flowing and all of your lights shining. Sometimes it’s easy to take the little guy for granted. However, just like all other components of your vehicle, car batteries require proper maintenance and care to keep cranking out the starts. Take a look at these facts and maintenance tips regarding your vehicle’s compact power plant:
- It’s not Always the Battery’s Fault! When a car won’t start, the finger of suspicion usually points to the battery. Keep in mind, however, that improper care and maintenance of a vehicle’s other components and systems can result in flaws that drain power off the battery. Before we even get to our battery maintenance points(!), then, always keep up with your regularly scheduled vehicle maintenance.
- Dress for (Battery Maintenance) Success. Below you will find tips on working with your battery to insure good maintenance. However, before analyzing, be sure to accessorize – with proper eye, hand and clothing protection, that is – as your battery contains dangerous chemicals.
- Fixed in Place. The easiest and first step in battery inspection is to ensure that the battery is secured to its mounting bracket. A loose battery can become damaged, with possible resulting short circuits.
- Corrosion, Corrosion. One potential point of difficulty is the connection point of your battery cables. Insure that the connections are tight and free of corrosion. While you can find instructions on cleaning corrosion yourself, it’s best to have a qualified technician clean the terminals.
- Fluid Level. Your battery, like many systems in your vehicle, contains fluid that needs to be kept at a proper level. To correct a low level, add distilled water only. The other component of battery fluid is sulphuric acid, whose amount generally remains steady – it is the water that can fluctuate due to evaporation and other processes. If NO fluid is present, it is likely the battery will fail soon, and replacement should be considered.
- A Clean Battery is a Happy Battery. In addition to keeping your battery from looking its best(!), dirt actually conducts electricity and can serve to drain energy from your battery. You can clean the battery case using a solution of regular warm water and baking soda, with a nylon bristle brush.
- Replacement. When your battery needs replacing, be sure to use the right size battery for your car. Consult your mechanic just to be sure.
Not discussed today is the issue of when and how to charge your car battery, should the need arise. Different batteries may require different methods of charging, and there are also precautions to take when charging (for example, never charge a frozen battery, which can cause an explosion). Look for an upcoming blog from us on this subject, and in the meantime, consult your mechanic for issues relating to battery charging.