How to extend your car battery’s life

All you need to know for a longer battery life

Is there a nagging buzzing sound coming from beneath your vehicle’s hood, or perhaps a clicking sound that sounds like someone furiously trying to change channels? Those two sounds are something that no driver – seasoned or otherwise – wants to experience but probably will. The problem? It’s a dead or soon-to-be-dead car battery.

Sadly, there’s no running away from the frustration of changing a car battery, because each car battery has its own calendar life, which is its set lifespan. Don’t let this depress you too much because:

a) A well-maintained battery should last 3-5 years,

And

b) We’re going to give you all the hints and tips to get the most out of your battery and stop it from going before its time.

Regular inspection

The monotony of regular checking can be tedious; however, it is far less painful than having to replace your battery prematurely. A monthly inspection will keep you in the know of your battery’s condition, allowing you to address any issues accordingly, ranging from cleaning to adding battery water.

Check your water

Due to the wonders of technological advancement, most car batteries now indicate when they need more water. The older ones don’t, but either way it is always worth checking. If water is needed, refill the battery with distilled water and ONLY distilled water. The pseudo-wisdom that dictates that you can put tap water in any car battery ignores the fact that over time it will, not can, cause damage.

Corrosion – fight or flea?

The answer is always, always fight. A common challenge that we face is the build-up of corrosion around the battery terminals. This corrosion hinders the connection between the battery and the rest of your vehicle. You have to remove it as soon as you spot it.

There are a number of DIY solutions which you can do with relative ease. A tried and tested solution is to make a paste using two to three tablespoons of baking soda and a tablespoon of water. Once you’ve made the paste, you can apply it with a toothbrush where it will bubble as it reacts to the corrosion. Afterwards, scrape off any deposits and rinse, but make sure not to allow any of the paste to enter the battery vents as this can shorten the battery’s life.

Your car is a car, not an accessory

How you use your car is important. When you leave your car and turn off the engine, do not leave the lights on and the radio playing as this will run down the battery. Similarly, do not use any of the car’s electronics, including the lights and radio, before you turn on the ignition. This is because when your car is on, it generates electricity to charge the battery, which ultimately reduces the chances of a drop in power.

Keep your battery safe and secure

You need to keep your battery and cables secure against both movement and the elements. The bouncing around and banging of a battery under your hood can damage it and result in it short circuiting.

In order to insulate the battery against extreme changes, you should invest in an insulation kit. Newer models come fitted with these, but for those that don’t, they are readily available. The consistency of favourable conditions for your battery will help prolong its life.

The best way to get the most out of your battery is to avoid poor maintenance and neglect. We have far-reaching experience with automotive parts and the brands who supply them. If ever you are in need of a second opinion or advice, we’re more than happy to help.

AMCAP works with some of the world’s most established automotive brands and is trusted to supply, deliver and stock quality automotive parts. Contact us  for professional advice for your vehicle.