In our last post we shared some guidance on how to jump-start a car, but are you doing everything you can to avoid a dead car battery in the first place? Learn how to keep your car battery charged and your ride on the road with these tips.
How to Prevent Your Car Battery from Dying
Your car battery—like all batteries—is a complex electrochemical device. In order to function properly, it needs to be maintained in certain conditions. These are some of the “big ones” that are relatively simple but have a big impact on how long your car battery lasts.
Use it or lose it.
As the saying goes, you’ve got to “use it or lose it” when it comes to your battery’s charge. In order to keep your car battery juiced up, you need to drive it regularly, for at least 10 minutes. 20 is even better. Driving your car gets the battery acid moving, which is important to maintain the battery in good condition.
If you normally have a lengthy commute to work, don’t just let your car sit when you have a week or more off. You still need to drive it even during the holidays, letting it run about as long as your usual commute.
Keep it warm.
While our winter weather here in Atlanta isn’t nearly as cold as that of northern climates, it still gets plenty cold enough to kill a battery. One of the best ways to protect your battery from winter freezing damage is to park it somewhere warm—at least in relation to the outside temperature.
If you have a garage to park in, that’s an obvious choice, but if not, you can still choose to park in the sunniest area of your parking lot or driveway, in the busier part of a parking deck, near any kind of equipment that emits ambient heat, close to a heated building, etc. Don’t park in heavy shade. There are even thermal blankets designed just for car batteries to help retain heat even during freezing temperatures.
Test and charge your battery.
Your battery has a mechanism called a “trickle charger” that is supposed to keep it charged even when not in use or during extreme temperatures. However, if the weather stays below freezing for too long, your trickle charger might not be able to feed enough power to keep up.
In order to maintain a charge, you need to recharge your car battery every once in a while. A local repair shop should be able to charge your battery and even test it to give you an overall picture of its health.
Keep it clean.
And last, but not least, keep it clean! Just because your car battery is under the hood doesn’t mean it’s clean. Road dust, dirt, engine grime, and even leaves and other organic material can actually drain power from the battery. An occasional wipe with a paper towel or soft cloth will help.
Good luck keeping your car battery running strong. Remember U-Wrench-It is always here with the best used auto parts and junk car buying prices in Atlanta!