2019 Nascar Heat

Your car battery should last about 3 to 5 years…

But lots of men and women find that they have to change their car battery every 1 to 2 years.

Why is this?

And what can you do to prolong your vehicle’s battery life?

We’ll show you why automobile batteries die early…and what you can do to keep this from happening.

We’ll also give you 8 simple tips and tricks to maximize the life span of your car’s 12 volt battery.

The tips we will teach you in this guide will be easy to do…and anyone will have the ability to do these (even if you know nothing about cars or car batteries).

So let’s begin! …

First, You Ought to Know That Every Car Battery’s Lifespan Has A Limit (but most people kill their battery well before it’s time)

Even if you care for your car battery perfectly…it will still die one day.

This set lifespan is called the battery’s”Calendar Life” and it’s completely independent of how often the battery has been charged or discharged.

But most car batteries never make it their complete”Calendar Life”…

Rather, they die early due to poor maintenance and care…that you can do something about.

Lead acid batteries are the oldest, most dependable, and most widely used type of rechargeable battery in the world.

  • Formatting is when the battery is new and has to be used gently.

  • Peak is the perfect performance stage, which we attempt to maintain for as long as possible.

  • Decline is a slow process, but one which slowly ends in the termination of the battery.

Batteries in decline can nevertheless be used for quite some time, but have to be watched.

Around this time, you can either recondition the battery or keep a close eye on it and try to replace it before a problem arises (like being unable to start your car for work).

Tip 1: Do a monthly review of the battery terminals to make sure they are clean and corrosion free.   One of the first problems most people have with their car battery is the build-up of rust around the terminals.   Corrosion destroys the connection between the battery and the car and several batteries are replaced due to too much corrosive build up.   But often times, this is readily treated simply by pouring a small amount of Cola or a DIY anti-corrosion paste (one part water to three parts baking soda) over the corroded areas. 

The acidity in the Cola or the alkaline properties at the DIY anti-corrosion paste will consume the corrosion away.   Be sure to allow it to dry, then rub some petroleum jelly on the terminals to prevent future corrosion.

Tip 2: Do not run any car accessories (lights, radio, or electronics) before turning to the vehicle ignition and driving the car.   When the vehicle is on, the auto alternator generates electricity and charges the vehicle battery after the battery has a voltage drop.   But if the car is not on, and you are using the car’s electronics, you’re just relying on the car battery to power those electronics. 

This is detrimental to the car battery because automobile batteries are not meant for this sort of use.

Rather, car batteries are supposed to offer a sudden burst of electricity for ignition.  They are not made to provide prolonged power for electronics and other devices (that is what a deep cycle lead acid battery could be for).   Using your car battery for a battery which powers electronics, instead of a battery that just gives you a burst of power for ignition, will damage the battery and significantly shorten it’s lifespan if it is repeatedly used in this fashion.   So avoid operating any car accessories or electronics while the vehicle is off.

Tip 3: Make sure the car battery is secure and has good battery cables.   The battery needs to be secured at all times.  If a battery is jostling around it’ll be impaired and could short circuit.   This will ruin the battery and even damage your car while creating a safety risk.   The same could happen if you have bad battery cables (or they are not connected properly).  So check your cables and make sure they have a secure connection as well.

Tip 4: Insulate your car battery from extreme changes in temperature.  Protecting your vehicle battery from big changes in temperature will help maximize the battery’s lifespan.   To do this you can use a car battery insulating material.   Newer model cars already have these kits installed typically.  But if your car does not have one, you can easily install one yourself.   Just make sure it fits your car’s battery compartment.  Generally the companies selling these battery insulation kits will have a form on their website where you can place in your car model and year, and it’ll tell you if your battery will fit their kit — like here (top of page).   These protective battery sleeves are usually made of plastic or an acid resistant, thermal resistant material.   These automobile battery insulation kits will insulate your battery and protect it while still allowing proper ventilation.

Tip 5: Fully control your car battery at least once a week (use a car battery charger or interchange batteries if you have to).   Your car battery drains even when the car is off.  This happens because current is drawn from the battery by car accessories (radio, lights, etc.) or the car computers.   This is the reason why folks come home from long holidays and find their car battery dead.  

Car battery chargers (solar or regular ) will keep the optimum charge level of your car battery when the vehicle is not being used.   They do it by providing enough power for your car accessories and car computer, so they do not continuously draw current from the car battery when the car is off.   They’re also useful if you go on a lot of short car trips (like to work and back each day) and never give your battery a chance to fully recharge.  Repeatedly doing this will dramatically shorten your battery’s life — unless you use a car battery charger or interchange batteries, leaving one at home to fully control.   The most important thing to remember with this tip is…be sure you fully charge your car battery at least once a week because it’ll greatly increase the life of your battery.  Do this with a charger, interchanging batteries…or simply going on a car ride long enough to recharge the battery.

Tip 6: Check your car battery’s water level.   Most car batteries indicate whether there is a need for water.   So check the vehicle battery water level indicator regularly and when water is needed, refill the battery with distilled water (and that’s important, ONLY use distilled water to refill your car battery).

Never overcharge your car battery. Lead-acid batteries release hydrogen and oxygen gases when they’re overcharged.   This causes two problems:

  1. It can be volatile.

  2. It also breaks down the composition of the water in the battery — which shortens its lifespan

Tip 8: Check your car’s alternator.   If you are doing everything we have recommended in this guide but your automobile batteries are dying early, you’ll want to look at your vehicle’s alternator (or get a mechanic to check it).