Last updated:
February 26, 2024
Written by
Claire Fürst

Maximising Your Car Battery's Lifespan: Essential Care Tips

Your car battery makes sure your vehicle starts reliably and powers different electrical systems in your vehicle. So, in other words, it is really important.

To make sure your car battery lasts as long as possible, it's important to give it proper care and maintenance. Here, we will dive into the different ways that you can care for your car battery - giving you 11 top tips to keep it running smoothly.

Car batteries are not one-size-fits-all. How long they last depends on several factors, including how you drive, the weather, how much power your car needs, and how well you maintain the battery.

With that, let's explore our 11 top tips! 

  1. Drive Smart

To extend your battery's life, consider taking longer drives every so often. When you drive for at least 30 minutes, your vehicle's alternator (like a generator to charge things) can efficiently recharge the battery.

  1. Be Weather Aware

Extreme temperatures can be harsh on your battery. Cold weather can make it difficult for the liquid inside the battery to transfer power, while hot weather can cause the liquid to evaporate, which can damage the battery. 

Whenever you can, park your car in the shade or use a garage to protect it from extreme temperature changes.

  1. Check the Quality 

Investing in a high-quality battery can be a smart choice in the long run. These batteries often last longer and tend to save you money overall, because they are made to withstand different weather conditions and provide a more all-round reliable performance.

  1. Regular Maintenance

You should try and check the health of your battery routinely. Don’t worry  - you don't need a mechanic to do some of the basics! 

You can regularly clean the battery terminals (when the engine is off, of course!) and ensure that the cables are securely connected. A quick clean with a brush and a mixture of baking soda and water can help prevent dirt from damaging the battery.

  1. Avoid Complete Discharge

If you tend to take short trips, this drains the battery quicker. This can lead to your battery draining completely, which will impact its long term ability to hold charge. If this sounds like you, you can manually recharge it every so often to maintain its health.

  1. Make Use of a Battery Charger

How can you manually recharge a battery? A battery charger or a smart charger is your answer. These  help maintain the battery's health by providing the charge it needs during periods of inactivity. Modern "smart" chargers are even more efficient, because they automatically switch off when the battery is recharged.

  1. Keep on the Lookout for Battery Issues

Keep an eye out for signs that your battery may be struggling. Slow starts, dimming lights, or flickering can all be hints that it's time for a charge or a replacement of battery.

If you're ever concerned about your battery's condition, you can usually book in for a free battery health check at your local service centre. 

  1.  Don't Idle to Recharge

Some people think that if their car's battery is dead (completely out of power), they can just leave the engine running (idling) to make the battery come back to life. But that's not how it works.

In reality, the part in your car called the alternator is like a battery charger. It's always working when the engine is running, but it's not great at bringing a completely dead battery back to life. If you try to use the alternator to bring a dead battery all the way back, it's like making the alternator and the battery work extra hard. This can wear them out faster and isn't good for your car's engine.

If your car's battery is dead, it's better to use jumper cables or a battery charger to give it a boost, rather than relying on the alternator.

  1.  Check for Parasitic Drains

If your battery keeps going flat without an obvious cause, it might be suffering from parasitic drains caused by electrical faults. You can use a multimeter to check the battery's voltage with the engine off.

If you suspect you have parasitic drains, it is worth going to your service centre to nip these issues in the bud. 

  1. Disconnect the Battery Earth Strap

If you plan to leave your car parked for an extended period, you should consider disconnecting the battery's earth strap. By doing this, the car’s electrical circuit is broken, which stops the battery from sending electricity to components that may cause a drain.

  1.  Maintain Proper Battery Fluid Levels

Inside your car battery, there's a mixture of water and sulfuric acid that acts as the electrolyte. Over time, water evaporates and needs refilling.

Check your battery's acid and water levels regularly, to ensure all cells are filled equally. Use distilled water, as tap water contains minerals that can affect battery performance.

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