Your car’s battery is one of the mainstays of its life and performance. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to start your car, and all the electrical components of your car would be out of commission. Thus, keeping your battery maintained and in top shape should be one of your top priorities. Read on to learn some useful car battery tips.
The Battery Recharges When the Engine is Running
First of all, a basic rule of thumb to remember is the battery recharges when the car is running. There are many ways this can factor into the battery life. For instance, if you are parked with your car running, there is less of a chance that the battery will be draining during that time. However, if you are parked, the engine is off, and your headlights are on, your battery will drain.
Secondly, if you’re taking many short trips that involve you stopping and starting your car engine repeatedly, you run the risk of draining the battery. This is because the battery never gets a chance to recharge in between engine starts, which drains the battery.
Lastly, it’s recommended that you let your car run for a few minutes after it’s been jump started. This is to give the battery a chance to recharge after it’s been drained and jumped. If you stop your car and then try to start it right away after a jump start, chances are it might not have enough charge built up yet.
Keep it Clean
Periodically checking your battery for dirt and corrosion can prolong its life and improve its performance. If you notice any corrosion on the poles, using a simple terminal cleaning tool can help keep the contact edges clean. Be sure to use proper care, wear gloves, and consult the manual for more information. If you’re unsure of the status of your battery, be sure to bring in your car for a check-up, diagnosis, and repair at Convoy Auto Repair.
Don’t Buy Cheap
While you don’t need to buy a super high-performance, race-car-worthy battery, don’t skimp out on your battery purchase, either. Cheaper batteries are cheap for a reason—they are low quality, may have a shorter life, less power, and may leak or corrode. Cheap, no-name products also may not have good warranty coverage. Stick to trusted brand names, and avoid the headaches.
Learn About Battery Terminals
Not all batteries have the same labeling when it comes to the positive and negative pole terminals. In most cases, batteries use red/yellow for positive, and black for negative. Whenever you get a new or replacement battery, you may want to have a look and familiarize yourself with the battery’s poles. This can come in handy if you ever need to jumpstart your car (or someone else’s).
Avoid Draining the Battery
As we mentioned, the battery charges when the engine is running. Conversely, it won't charge when the engine is off! That’s easy enough to remember, right?
Sitting in a parked car with the engine off, headlights on, while charging multiple devices, is a recipe for draining your batteries. Depending on the life and quality of your battery, you could be out of power in minutes.
Recognize the Signs of an Old Battery
The following conditions may be an indication that you battery’s life has run its course and it needs a replacement:
- Check engine light lights up—this can happen when the battery power is weak
- Slow cranking engine—engine takes longer to start and sounds slow or sluggish
- Low battery fluid levels
- Swollen battery case—could be a sign of excessive heating, which may be draining the battery life
- “Rotten egg” smell—often caused by leaking, which in turn can lead to corrosion on the poles
- Age—batteries typically need to be replaced within 3-5 years. This can change depending on the battery type, driving habits, and other factors. Frequent short trips can drain battery life
See one or all of these signs? Bring your car in to have the battery replaced and/or other checks performed.
There’s nothing worse than hopping in your car, turning the key, and not getting started. For maximum safety on the road, be sure your battery is fresh, running well, and in proper order. This will ensure that your car starts when you need it to.
If you need work done on your car’s battery, stop by Convoy Auto Repair today, San Diego’s favorite auto repair shop. We have complete car check-up options to ensure that all your car’s systems and parts are in tip-top shape.