Especially during frigid Canadian winters, a dead car battery can leave you stranded at the worst of times. Use these maintenance tips to help avoid problems.
What causes your battery to wear out?
Several elements can cause wear on your vehicle battery. For example, cold temperatures force your battery to work harder to retain the same amount of heat and energy it uses during warmer months. Batteries do wear out naturally over time, too. On average a vehicle battery needs to be replaced every three to five years. To get the most out of your battery during its lifespan, maintenance is vital.
Tips to prolonging the life of your vehicle’s battery
1/ Clean the battery terminals
Dirt and corrosion on your battery can restrict the flow of electricity. Keep the battery terminal clean and inspect it at least once a month.
*Safety tip: Clean only the terminal and not the cells. Do NOT open the battery cells as you will expose yourself to the battery acid.
2/ Start the vehicle before operating car accessories
Try not to operate any accessories of the vehicle while it isn’t running. If you want to listen to the radio or keep cool with the AC for a period of time, start your car and keep it running.
3/ Replace faulty components
If other parts of your vehicle are faulty, they can drain your battery of power even when it’s not running. Short circuits, bad alternators, or problematic accessories need to be fixed or replaced to protect your battery.
4/ Drive your vehicle frequently
Driving your vehicle frequently helps maintain the battery’s charge. If you own a sports car or show car that sits for long periods of time in your garage, consider investing in a charger to maintain the battery life. A charger is good for any vehicle that isn’t driven frequently.
5/ Prevent the battery from vibrating
Make sure your battery is secure and unable to vibrate. Vibrations cause the battery to shake and can damage the battery plates. The battery may also short circuit. Regular inspections of the battery terminal can help you check for loose connections.
6/ Avoid extreme temperatures
Try not to drive too many short, consecutive trips in cold weather as this can be taxing on your battery. Keep your battery well insulated in extreme temperature changes with battery insulation kits.
Signs that your battery needs replacement
Even after careful battery maintenance, your battery may one day need professional repairs or replacement.Here are some signs that indicate there may be a problem with your battery:
- Engine turns over, but won’t start
- Lights won’t come on; engine doesn’t start or turn over
- The engine starts one minute, the next it won’t
- You put extra energy into starting your vehicle
- The battery needs to be jumped a lot