From extreme temperatures to parasitic drains, driving habits, and more, there are a ton of factors affecting your car’s battery life. While you can typically depend on your battery for 3-5 years, aging can eventually make your lead-acid power source kick the bucket.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help maximize your car battery’s shelf life. With these tips, you’ll learn how to get every ounce of power from your car battery before your next replacement.
The Average Car Battery Life
On average, car batteries last between 3 and 5 years. One of the most important factors that affect how long a car battery will last is the weather. A running engine under the hood is already producing high levels of heat.
Throw in a scorching hot day and you have a severe drain on your car battery, which can lead to an increased chance of a dead battery if you don’t take proper summer driving precautions.
Warm weather can cause fluid in car batteries to evaporate, damaging the internal structure of the battery. That’s why average battery life is shorter in warmer climates. So, when estimating how long your car battery life will last, consider the climate you will do most of your driving in.
Regardless of the temperature you drive in, properly taking care of your car battery can help keep it running. Check out the seven tips below on extending the life of your car battery:
1. Limit Short Rides
Your battery is given a workout every time you start your car but is then recharged by the engine during the journey. So, if you are only driving a short distance, it will be impossible for the battery to regain the amount of power lost and if you repeat the process daily the battery voltage will reduce steadily until it can no longer start the car.
Maintain your car’s battery power by driving it frequently and for longer periods of time – and if you don’t use your car very often, consider investing in a battery charger to help maintain the correct voltage.
2. Keep Your Battery Tightly Fastened
Vibration can reduce the life of your car battery, so it is vital that you always use an approved battery clamp to ensure it is properly held down at all times. If not securely fastened, excessive vibration could damage your battery’s internal components creating short circuits and reducing battery life.
But don’t make the mistake of over-tightening the battery clamp nuts to the limit of your strength because you might damage the battery! Instead, simply tighten the nuts until you feel the resistance started, and then continue for only an additional half turn.
3. Turn Off All the Lights When You Exit
Accidentally keeping your headlights and car door lights on can put a heavy toll on your vehicle’s battery. To keep yourself from forgetting, post a note on your dashboard, attach a sticker reminder on your car remote, or park in a direction where you must walk past your headlights to get to your destination.
4. Control the Corrosion
Battery terminals corrode over time but keeping them clean from buildup is a great way to extend the life of your car battery. Scrub the terminals with a toothbrush dipped in a baking soda and water mixture. Then, using a spray bottle with cold water, rinse the mixture off and follow up with a thorough drying with a clean cloth.
5. Test Your Battery Often
Knowing the condition of your car battery matters when you want to maximize its life. Test your battery’s output voltage level with a car battery tester to keep track of how well you’re maintaining it and if you’re due for a new one.
6. Don’t Use Electronics While Idling
Turn off functions like the radio or air conditioner when your engine isn’t running to put less wear and tear on your battery power. Extended periods of idling also can wear a battery down.
7. Care for Your Whole Car
Your car is comprised of many parts working together. Making sure you are taking your car in for routine tune-ups, as well as properly storing your vehicle are also simple ways to ensure your battery’s lifespan can reach its full capacity.
The battery is just one component of a well-running car, so make sure to properly maintain all parts of your car to extend its life and the life of your battery.
No matter how well you maintain your car battery, you can’t always foresee when it may die.