At some point, if you keep your car long enough, your battery will need to be replaced. It’s just the circle of battery life. In fact, most new car manufactures equip your car with a battery that meets the bare minimums as far as performance. A lot of the time these batteries that come with your new car will give you little to no notice before it gives up. You’ll never keep it going indefinitely, past the usual two to four-year time frame that most of them last.
Still, there are strategies you can try, if you’re really interested in keeping your battery around as long as possible. Some of those strategies include…
Don’t leave your car out in the heat. Sadly, here in the Carolinas we have our share of hot weather, so batteries probably won’t last as long as they might in Minnesota. In other words, the heat can take a toll and if you park outside on hot, humid summer days, like most of us have to do from time to time, you may be prematurely aging your car battery. Choose covered or shaded parking if possible.
Take longer drives. The longer you drive your car, the more your battery becomes fully charged. Now, nobody’s suggesting that if you must run out to get some cold medicine at the pharmacy two miles away that instead you make it a 900-mile road trip. But if you are concerned about your battery and are usually only are taking little excursions, five-minute trips here and there, you would be doing your car battery a favor to drive it around a little more often and on longer, 30 to 60-minute trips. This will give the charging systems enough time to fully charge the battery.
Make sure your battery is securely fastened down. Excessive shaking is not good for a battery. Now a battery securely fastened down is not affected much by bumps in the road. Fortunately, if you get your car looked at on a regular basis, such as getting oil changes, then your mechanic will look at it for you. The battery needs to be strapped down or bracketed properly, and if you often drive on rough roads, it is something you’ll really want to watch out for.
Protect your battery. Before you leave your car, make sure your headlights are off and nothing is on or plugged in in the cabin of your car. Perhaps the most common drain of a battery comes in accidentally leaving your lights on overnight or when parked for an extended period. You don’t want to be that person who is in a rush to get to work and races to the garage or driveway and turns the ignition… and nothing.
Leaving your car lights on all night doesn’t mean your battery is finished. A neighbor or a tow truck driver might jump your battery and get it started (we’d be happy to do that for you, too), but that said, having it fully drained down to nothing isn’t good for the life of your battery.
Keep your battery terminals (connections) clean. Do you see any corrosion? That would be a white powder near or on the battery terminals. If you use baking soda, water and a nonmetallic brush, you could get your battery looking like brand new and removing that corrosion might keep it around a little longer. Batteries that are getting to the end of their useful life will tend to corrode more easily. This can indicate that you will need to get a new battery soon.
It is important to remember that vehicle batteries don’t last forever, even with our best effort to protect them. If that’s the case, you’ll want to head on over to Milex Complete Auto Care /Mr. Transmission and pick out a new one.