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5 Simple Car Battery Maintenance Tips

5 Simple Car Battery Maintenance Tips | Rocky Mountain Tire & Auto

Your car's battery is like its heart, providing the electrical energy necessary to start the engine and power essential components. However, without proper maintenance, your battery's performance can deteriorate, leading to unexpected breakdowns and costly replacements. 

1. Inspect Battery Terminals

The battery terminals, where the cables connect to the battery, are prone to corrosion and buildup over time. To prevent poor electrical connections and voltage issues, inspect the terminals regularly for any signs of corrosion, such as white or greenish deposits. If corrosion is present, clean the terminals using a mixture of baking soda and water and a wire brush to ensure good contact.

2. Keep Battery Secure and Clean

A loose or improperly secured battery can lead to vibrations and damage to the internal components. Ensure that the battery is securely fastened in place using the appropriate mounting hardware. Additionally, keep the battery and surrounding area clean and free from dirt, debris, and moisture to prevent corrosion and prolong its lifespan.

3. Test Battery Health Regularly

Regularly testing your car's battery health can provide valuable insights into its condition and performance. Many automotive parts stores offer free battery testing services using specialized equipment. By checking the battery's voltage and cranking amps, you can determine if it's holding a charge properly or if it's time for a replacement.

4. Avoid Draining the Battery

Frequent short trips and leaving accessories or lights on when the engine is off can drain your car's battery and shorten its lifespan. To avoid unnecessary strain on the battery, minimize electrical loads when the engine is not running and try to combine short trips into longer ones whenever possible to allow the battery to recharge fully.

5. Consider Using a Battery Tender

If you have a vehicle that sits idle for extended periods, such as a classic car or recreational vehicle, consider using a battery tender or maintainer to keep the battery charged and healthy. Battery tenders provide a low-level charge to prevent self-discharge and sulfation, which can occur when a battery remains in a discharged state for too long.

Additional Electrical System Maintenance to Consider

Check the Alternator Belt and Connections

The alternator plays a big role in charging the battery and powering the electrical components of your vehicle. Regularly inspect the alternator belt for signs of wear or damage and ensure it's properly tensioned. Additionally, check the connections between the alternator and the battery to ensure they're clean and secure.

Inspect Fuses and Relays

Fuses and relays protect your car's electrical system from overloads and short circuits by interrupting the flow of electricity when necessary. Periodically inspect the fuses and relays in your vehicle's fuse box for signs of damage or corrosion. Replace any blown fuses or faulty relays to prevent electrical issues.

Test Voltage Regulator

The voltage regulator regulates the charging voltage produced by the alternator to prevent overcharging or undercharging of the battery. If your battery is experiencing charging issues, have the voltage regulator tested to ensure it's functioning correctly. A faulty voltage regulator can lead to battery failure and other electrical problems.

Questions You Might Have

How often should I check my car's battery terminals for corrosion?

It's a good idea to inspect your battery terminals for corrosion every few months, especially after periods of extreme weather or if you notice any signs of electrical issues.

What is sulfation, and how does it affect car batteries?

Sulfation occurs when lead sulfate crystals form on the battery plates due to prolonged discharge. This can reduce the battery's ability to hold a charge and ultimately lead to failure if not addressed.

Can I jump-start my car if the battery is completely dead?

While jump-starting a car with a dead battery is possible, it's not recommended as it can cause damage to the electrical system. It's best to use a battery charger or have the battery replaced if it's no longer holding a charge.

Does your car's battery need to be changed? Schedule an appointment with the Rocky Mountain Tire & Auto team - we will gladly help.