Car Battery Maintenance Will Help Increase Battery Life
Just like other parts of your car, the right battery maintenance can help to increase not only the output of your battery, but its longevity too.
Read this quick guide to find out everything you need to know about car battery maintenance and how you can increase your car’s battery life – saving you money.
Inspecting your Car Battery
Regardless of whether you’ve noticed issues with your car battery, it’s recommended that you perform regular inspections to ensure everything is in working order. Some of the things you can look for include:
Fluid below separators
If electrolyte fluid is below the battery separators, this indicates overcharging or poor maintenance. Overcharging could be a result of incorrect voltage settings, low voltage caused by heat or internal defects or old age deterioration.
Electrolyte on top of the battery
If electrolyte fluid is on top of the battery, this can also indicate overcharging, as well as overfilling, both of which can lead to poor battery life.
Battery loose in carrier
If the battery isn’t sitting in the carrier securely, this can lead to battery failure from motor and road vibrations.
If the battery looks damaged or mistreated in any way, this can also lead to failure.
What if your Car Battery is Completely Flat?
A completely discharged (flat) battery can be caused by a number of problems, including:
A problem in the electrical system (such as a slipping alternator belt, faulty regulator or alternator, or high resistance due to corrosion)
Internal shorts (manufacturing defects, ageing process or vibration damage)
If you suspect your battery is completely flat, it should be checked with a hydrometer. A low Specific Gravity reading of 1.220 or less in all cells indicates that it is flat. It must be charged before further examination and testing can occur.
Is Car Battery Replacement Necessary?
If your car battery has failed, it’s important that the reason for this is identified. Without identifying the problem, you’re simply resolving the symptom (the flat battery) and not the fundamental problem with your car’s engine.
Factors affecting battery life
There are a number of factors affecting battery life. As they age, and are constantly charged and discharged, they lose their capacity, which eventually leads to failure.
Some of the factors that can have an impact include:
Components corroding over time
Electrical shorts in the battery
Vibrations causing damage
Overcharging or undercharging
On top of this, changed driving patterns can also have an effect on your battery life, such as when you go on holiday and don’t drive for an extended period. Changes in weather, such as between summer and winter can also have an effect.
Early warning signs
Batteries often fail when least expected, but there are some warning signs – typically, when engine cranks slower the normal. Of course, while it may be a sign of battery failure, this may not be the sole problem your car is currently experiencing.
Car worked fine last night, but won’t start in the morning – Can be a sign of corroded terminals, or that some electrical power has been running overnight, such as lights left on.
Car cranks, but won’t start – Usually indicates an ignition problem, or for older cars, an issue with the carburettor.
Battery is using a lot of water – Potentially a voltage regulator problem or the battery is getting old.
Car Battery Maintenance Tips
Vibration can reduce a battery’s life.
Many alleged ‘dead’ batteries are actually flat batteries. Leaving lights on or having faulty voltage regulators can cause this. It’s always recommended you speak to a professional about whether your battery is flat or faulty before replacing it.
It’s impossible to know exactly when your battery’s life is up, but a slow-starting engine is a fair indication.
Old batteries typically have more trouble in colder weather. Equally, if your engine is overheating and your battery is under strain from air conditioning, it can fail.
Regular car battery checks are always recommended.
Car Battery Codes
If you want to assess the age of your car battery, you can do so by checking the code on the battery’s lid/terminals. The date on the bottom of your battery is typically in relation to when the case was manufactured – not the battery itself. Codes can vary depending on your battery’s manufacturer, so it’s important you follow their guides to ensure you get the right information.
If you’re still unsure, a team member at your local Tyrepower will be happy to help.
Increase Your Car Battery’s Life with Proper Maintenance
Need a car battery replacement, or want to make sure you’re following the correct maintenance steps? Give Tyrepower a call directly on 13 21 91 and we’ll be happy to assist.