Guide: Maintaining Your Car Battery

Any vehicle needs a battery to start its engine. It is also used in stabilizing, filtering and giving the needed power for ignition, electrical lighting, and other car accessories. The car battery provides the power whenever the charging system cannot carry the excess loads. It also maintains the electrical flow of the charging system when it is not operating.

A battery is a vital component of any automobile, that is why frequent battery check up is necessary. You may encounter car problems and engine stoppage when the battery is in bad shape. A well maintained battery can last for a couple of years or even more, otherwise you may often find yourself buying new batteries.

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So it’s better to take care of the battery as much as you do for other vehicle components. There are certain things that you should be aware of. It’s not the cold that eats out your battery, it is high heat. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, thus damaging the internal structure of the battery. That’s why it’s a good idea to check your battery as the seasons change from hotter to cooler or if you’ve been driving in a hot part of the country.

Another reason for shortened battery life is overcharging. That is, a malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, can allow too high a charging rate, leading to slow death for a battery.

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In addition, colder temperatures can increase the thickness of the engine oil, making the engine harder to turn over, causing the battery to have to work more. These factors may also lead to harder starting. Also be aware of the accessories and components that eat up the battery even when your vehicle is turned off.

Do note that vehicles need to be driven regularly and for distances that allow the battery to recharge itself properly or it will discharge its power and run flat. In fact, regular longer runs could double the life of your battery.

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To get the most life out of a battery, follow these simple steps:

  • Be sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate; overcharging can damage a battery as quickly as undercharging.
  • If your battery is the type that needs to be topped off, check it regularly. Add distilled water when necessary.
  • Always replace a battery with one that’s rated at least as high as the one originally specified.
  • Have the battery checked if you notice headlights and interior lights dim, accessories that fail to operate, or the “check engine” or battery light illuminated.
  • Keep the top of the battery clean. Dirt becomes a conductor, which drains battery power. Further, as corrosion accumulates on battery terminals, it becomes an insulator, slowing down the flow of current.

Always purchase a battery from a reputable manufacturer. You may opt for a dry-cell battery which is slightly expensive than conventional wet-cell batteries. Car battery size & amperes and choosing the correct battery for your vehicle is important. If you pick the wrong one, then no matter how well it is maintained, it simply will not perform as it should or could.

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