How to Properly Look After Your Car Battery

Asian woman driving a car
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Your battery is extremely important when it comes to your car, after all, it is what keeps your car running. As humans, our batteries can get drained by certain things. Well, our car batteries are the same. If we don’t look after our car’s battery, then it gets drained, and our cars can’t run.

So, here are some ways you can properly look after your car battery.

 

What is the purpose of a car battery?

Your car battery is extremely important for a number of reasons. It has several functions and is, essentially, a large power reserve that supplies the power needed by the car’s starting motor to kick the engine to life each time the key is turned. The battery also provides electricity for the car’s ignition system to work.

Without this essential piece of machinery, your car cannot properly function properly. So, this means that you need to look after your car’s battery and make sure you keep it in good condition so that your car keeps running efficiently.

 

What drains your car battery?

There are several things that can lead to this, and while they can be annoying, they can also be avoided. However, in order to prevent a drained battery, you’ll need to know what causes one.

Leaving your headlights on

Most newer cars have headlights that are designed to turn off after a set amount of time. However, if you have an older car, your lights might stay on until you manually turn them off or your battery has been drained. All cars are different, so how long you can leave your lights on without draining the battery will vary from car to car.

‘Parasitic draw’

A parasitic draw is something that drains the battery unnecessarily when the car is turned off. Fortunately, you do a test to find out the cause of a parasitic drain so that you can then fix it.

Loose or corroded battery connections

If your battery connections are loose or corroded, then they can’t properly transmit power and can even lead to you stalling the car or damaging its electrical components. Regularly cleaning these connections can prevent corrosion-related problems.

Extreme temperatures

Newer batteries often tend to resist the extreme seasonal temperatures better. So, if your battery is older, it’s more likely to be weakened drained by extreme cold or heat.

The battery isn’t charging while you drive

Driving your car is what charges your battery, using what is called an alternator. If your alternator is damaged, it can’t power your battery efficiently or recharge the battery while you are driving.

Too many short drives

Starting your engine takes a lot of power from your battery, but as we mentioned above, the battery is charged through the alternator when you drive. If you’re constantly taking short drives you’re not giving the battery enough time to recharge, but still using a lot of power or start up the engine repeatedly, which will often lead to a drained or dead battery.

Old batteries

Some car batteries can last up to 5 years, depending on where you live and how you drive. Extreme temperatures, short drives, and general wear and tear can mean your battery can last only 2-3 years. If your battery died quite quickly, it might be a sign that it's time for a new one.

 

How to recharge and care for your battery

There are several things that you could do in order to recharge your car batteries or to stop them from dying in the first place.

Charge your battery manually

It’s always better to keep your battery charged instead of letting it become completely drained. Charging your car battery with a trickle charger is one way that you can keep the battery from going flat by charging it slowly and Is better for the long-term. Here’s how to do this.

  • Purchase a trickle charger – you can get these at most auto stores
  • Park your car in a well-ventilated and safe environment with the engine off and the key removed
  • Locate the ideal ground – preferably an area of bare metal on the car’s frame
  • Attach the red clip on the charger to the positive terminal on your car’s battery
  • Attach the black clip to the negative terminal on your car’s battery
  • Turn the trickle charger on and leave it alone to charge for the correct amount of time – this should generally take around 48 hours to fully charge your car’s battery

These types of chargers keep your car battery charged for longer, meaning they will be in better condition for longer. They are also relatively easy to use, so you won’t need the help of a mechanic.

A jump start

If your battery has completely died, then performing a jump start is one of the most common and easiest ways to get your car’s battery going again. You’ll need a car with a full battery to assist you. Here’s how to do it:

  • Face the car with the fully charged battery to the one with the empty battery leaving enough space to open both bonnets and attach the jumper cables
  • Using gloves and goggles, attach one end of the red ‘positive’ cable to the positive terminal (marked with a + symbol) on the fully charged battery and the other end to the positive terminal on the empty battery
  • Attach one end of the black ‘negative’ cable to the negative terminal (marked with a – symbol) on the full battery – do not attach the other end to the dead battery. Some cars come with an earthing rod, for this reason, so check your manual to see if yours does.
  • Clip the remaining clamp onto a piece of solid metal away from the fuel system and battery.
  • Once all four ends of the cables are properly attached, wait five minutes. Then start the car with the full battery and let it run for a minute before starting the car with a dead battery. Try again if it doesn’t start within 5 minutes.

 

Your car’s battery is essential to the running of your car – without it, your car cannot run. Nobody likes getting caught off-guard with a dead battery. So, take heed of the advice in this article and make sure you’re keeping your car’s battering in good condition to save yourself money and hassle over time.

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