But many people find that they need to change their car battery every 1 to 2 years.
Why is this?
And what can you do to prolong your car’s battery life?
Well… That’s what we’ll discuss in this article.
We’ll show you why automobile batteries die early…and what you can do to keep this from happening.
We’ll also offer you 8 easy tips and tricks to maximize the life span of your car’s 12 volt battery.
The tips we’ll teach you in this article will be easy to do…and anyone will be able to perform 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 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 has been charged or discharged.
However, most car batteries never make it their complete”Calendar Life”…
Instead, they die early because of poor maintenance and maintenance…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 has to be used lightly.
Peak is the perfect performance phase, which we attempt to keep for as long as you can.
Decline is a slow process, but one that slowly 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 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 begin your vehicle for work).
Tip 1: Do a monthly inspection of the battery terminals to make sure they’re clean and corrosion 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 car and many batteries are replaced due to too much corrosive build up. But often times, this is easily treated simply by pouring a small quantity of Cola or a DIY anti-corrosion glue (one part water to three parts baking soda) within the corroded areas.
The acidity in the Cola or the alkaline properties at the DIY anti-corrosion paste will eat the rust away. After the corrosion is eliminated, 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 operate any car accessories (lights, radio, or electronics) before turning to the car ignition and driving the car. When the vehicle 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’re using the car’s electronics, you are just relying on the car battery to power those electronic equipment.
This is damaging to the car battery because car batteries are not meant for this type of use.
Instead, car batteries are meant to offer a sudden burst of power for ignition. They’re not made to offer prolonged power for electronics and other devices (that’s what a deep cycle lead acid battery could be for). Using your car battery as a battery which powers electronics, instead of a battery that just provides you a burst of power for ignition, will damage the battery and greatly shorten it’s lifespan if it is repeatedly utilized in this fashion. So avoid operating any automobile accessories or electronics while the vehicle 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 could short circuit. This may 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 also.
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 insulation kit. 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 be certain 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 will tell you if your battery will fit their kit — such as 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 proper ventilation.
Tip 5: Fully charge 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 vehicle is off. That happens because current is drawn from the battery by car accessories (radio, lights, etc.) or even the car computers. This is the reason why people come home from long holidays and locate their car battery dead.
Car battery chargers (regular or solar) will maintain the optimum charge level of your car battery when the car is not being used. They do it by providing enough electricity for the car accessories and car computer, so they don’t always draw current from the vehicle battery when the vehicle is off. As you can imagine, these chargers are extremely useful…especially if you go on a trip or leave your car unused for some time. They’re also useful if you go on plenty of short car trips (like to work and back each day) and never give your battery a opportunity to fully recharge. Repeatedly doing this will dramatically shorten your battery’s life — unless you use a car battery charger or interchange batteries, leaving you at home to fully control. The most important thing to remember with this suggestion is…be sure you fully charge your car battery at least once a week because it will greatly increase the life span of your battery. Do this using 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 whether there’s a need for water. So check the vehicle battery water level indicator regularly and if water is required, refill the battery with distilled water (and that’s significant, ONLY use distilled water to refill your vehicle battery).
Tip 7: Do NOT overcharge your car battery. Never overcharge your car battery. Lead-acid batteries release hydrogen and oxygen gases when they’re overcharged. This causes two problems:
It can be explosive.
Tip 8: Check your car’s alternator. If you’re doing everything we have recommended in this guide but your car batteries are still dying early, you’ll want to check your vehicle’s alternator (or get a mechanic to check it).