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 car batteries die early…and what you can do to prevent this from happening.
We’ll also give you 8 easy tips and techniques to maximize the lifespan of your car’s 12 volt battery.
The tips we will teach you in this article will be simple to do…and anyone will be able to do 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 known as the battery’s”Calendar Life” and it’s completely independent of how many times the battery was charged or discharged.
But most car batteries never make it their complete”Calendar Life”…
Rather, they die early due to poor maintenance and maintenance…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.
Lead Acid Batteries have three life phases — formatting, peak, and decline.
Formatting is when the battery is new and needs to be used gently.
Peak is the ideal performance stage, which we seek to maintain for as long as possible.
Decline is a slow process, but one which gradually ends in the termination of the battery.
Batteries in decline can nevertheless be used for quite a while, 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 not able to start your vehicle for work).
Tip 1: Do a monthly review of the battery terminals to be certain they are clean and rust free. One of the first problems most people have with their car battery is the build-up of corrosion around the terminals. Corrosion destroys the connection between the battery and the vehicle and many batteries are replaced due to too much corrosive build up. But often times, this can be readily treated simply by pouring a small amount of Cola or a DIY anti-corrosion paste (one part water to three parts baking soda) within the corroded areas.
The acid in the Cola or the alkaline properties at the DIY anti-corrosion paste will eat the corrosion away. After the rust is gone, use a clean damp rag or sponge to clean up the remaining residue and moisture.
Tip 2: Don’t operate any car accessories (lights, radio, or electronics) before turning on the car ignition and driving the car. When the car is on, the car 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 simply relying on the car battery to power those electronics.
This is detrimental to the car battery because automobile batteries are not meant for this type of use.
Instead, car batteries are meant to provide a sudden burst of power for ignition. They’re not made to provide prolonged power for electronics and other devices (that is what a deep cycle lead acid battery would be for). Using your car battery as a battery which powers electronics, rather than a battery that just provides you a burst of power for ignition, will damage the battery and significantly shorten it’s lifespan if it’s 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 might short circuit. This may ruin the battery — and even cause damage to your car whilst creating a security risk. The same could happen when you have bad battery cables (or they’re not connected correctly ). So check your cables and make sure they have a secure connection as well.
Protecting your vehicle 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 fits 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 — like here (top of page). These protective battery sleeves are typically made of plastic or an acid resistant, thermal resistant material. These automobile battery insulation kits will insulate your battery and guard it while still allowing appropriate ventilation.
Tip 5: Fully charge your car battery at least once a week (use a car battery charger or shut-off 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 people 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 the 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 daily ) and never give your battery a opportunity to fully recharge. Repeatedly doing so can dramatically enhance your battery’s life — unless you use a car battery charger or interchange batteries, leaving one at home to fully charge. The main thing to remember with this suggestion is…make sure you fully charge your car battery at least once a week since it will greatly increase the life of your battery. Do this with a charger, interchanging batteries…or just going on a car ride long enough to recharge the battery.
Tip 6: Assess your car battery’s water level. Most car batteries indicate if there’s a demand 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 oxygen and hydrogen gases when they are overcharged. This causes two problems:
It can be volatile.
It also breaks down the composition of the water in the battery — that shortens its lifespan
Tip 8: Assess your vehicle’s alternator. If you’re doing everything we have recommended in this article but your automobile batteries are dying early, you’ll want to look at your car’s alternator (or find a mechanic to check it). If your alternator is bad it will results in ineffective recharging of your battery and dramatically shorten your battery’s lifespan.