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8 Simple Tips & Trick To Extend The Life Of Your Car Battery

But many people find that they have to change their car battery every 1 to 2 years.

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 lifespan of your car’s 12 volt battery.

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

So let’s get started! …

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

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

This set lifespan is called the battery’s”Calendar Life” and it is completely independent of how many times the battery was charged or discharged.

However, most car batteries never make it their full”Calendar Life”…

Rather, they die early because of poor maintenance and care…which 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 needs to be used gently.

  • Peak is the perfect performance phase, which we attempt to keep for as long as you can.

  • 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 must be watched.

Around this time, you may 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 inspection of the battery terminals to be certain they’re clean and corrosion free.   One of the initial 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 vehicle and many batteries are replaced because of a lot of corrosive build up.   But often times, this can be easily treated by simply 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 acid in the Cola or the alkaline properties at the DIY anti-corrosion paste will consume the corrosion away.   After the rust is gone, use a clean damp rag or sponge to clean up the remaining residue and moisture.  Make certain to let it dry, then rub some petroleum jelly on the terminals to prevent future corrosion.

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

This is damaging to the car battery because car batteries aren’t meant for this type of use.

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

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

Protecting your car battery from big changes in temperature will help optimize the battery’s lifespan.   To do this you can use a car battery insulating material.   Newer model cars currently have these kits installed typically.  But if your car does not have one, you can easily install one yourself.   Just make sure it matches your car’s battery compartment.  Generally the companies selling these battery insulation kits will have a form on their site where you can place in your car model and year, and it will tell you if your battery will match their kit — such as 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.  That happens because current is drawn from the battery by car accessories (radio, lights, etc.) or the automobile computers.   This is why people come home from long holidays and find their car battery dead.  

Car battery chargers (regular or solar) will keep the optimum charge level of your car battery when the car is not being used.   They do this by providing enough power for your car accessories and car computer, so they do not always draw current from the vehicle battery when the car is off.   As you can imagine, these chargers are very useful…especially if you go on a trip or leave your car unused for some time.  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 can dramatically enhance your battery’s life — unless you use a car battery charger or interchange batteries, leaving you at home to fully charge.   The main thing to remember with this suggestion is…be sure you fully charge your car battery at least once a week since it will greatly increase the life of your battery.  Do this using a charger, interchanging batteries…or just going on a car ride long enough to recharge the battery.

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

Tip 7: Do NOT 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 — that shortens its lifespan

Tip 8: Assess 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 check your car’s alternator (or find a mechanic to check it).