Rugged Radio Dune Buggy

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 easy tips and tricks to maximize the life span of your car’s 12 volt battery.

The tips we will teach you in this article will be simple to do…and anybody will be able to perform these (even if you know nothing about cars or car batteries).

So let’s begin! …

First, You Should Know That Every Car Battery’s 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 1 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.

Once a battery reaches the end of its”Calendar Life” it will become unusable.

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

Instead, they die early because of poor maintenance and care…that you can do something about.

Lead acid batteries are the oldest, most reliable, and most widely used form 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 you can.

  • Decline is a slow process, but one which gradually ends in the conclusion 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 until a problem arises (like being unable to start your vehicle for work).

Tip 1: Do a monthly inspection of the battery terminals to make sure they are clean and rust 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 car 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 quantity of Cola or a DIY anti-corrosion glue (one part water to three parts baking soda) over the corroded areas. 

The acid in the Cola or the alkaline properties in the DIY anti-corrosion paste will eat the corrosion away.   Make certain to let it dry, then rub some petroleum jelly on the terminals to prevent future corrosion.

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

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

Instead, car batteries are meant to provide a sudden burst of electricity 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 for a battery that powers electronics, rather than a battery that just gives you a burst of electricity for ignition, will damage the battery and greatly shorten it’s lifespan if it’s repeatedly used in this fashion.   So avoid operating any automobile accessories or electronics while the car is off.

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

Protecting your car battery from large 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 doesn’t have one, you can easily set up 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 put in your car model and year, and it will tell you if your battery will fit their kit — like here (top of page).   These protective battery sleeves are typically made of plastic or an acid resistant, thermal resistant material.   These car battery insulation kits will insulate your battery and protect it while still allowing appropriate ventilation.

Tip 5: Fully control 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.  That happens because current is drawn from the battery by car accessories (lights, radio, etc.) or the automobile computers.   This is the reason why folks come home from long vacations and locate their car battery dead.   But to avoid this, you can use either a car battery charger or a solar battery charger. 

Car battery chargers (regular or solar) will keep the optimum charge level of your car battery when the car is not in use.   They do it by providing enough power for your car accessories and car computer, so that they don’t always 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 opportunity to fully recharge.  Repeatedly doing this can dramatically shorten 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 tip is…be sure you fully charge your car battery at least once a week because it will 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: Assess your car battery’s water level.   Most car batteries indicate if there’s a need for water.   So check the car battery water level indicator frequently and if water is needed, refill the battery with distilled water (and that is important, ONLY use distilled water to refill your car battery).

Lead-acid batteries release hydrogen and oxygen gases when they are overcharged.   This causes two problems:

  1. It can be explosive.

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