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Extend the Life of Your Car Battery

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 7 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Car Battery Voltage Dead Battery Extend

Car batteries are a normal running expense and the cost for a new car battery can range between £40 and £100. There are ways to extend the life of a car battery including simply keeping the battery free from dirt.

The Average Life Span of a Car Battery

There are a number of different factors that will determine the average life of a car battery. The average lifespan of a car battery can be anywhere from two to five years although a nine year life span is not unheard of. Of course the quality of the battery will also be a determining factor, and many people who buy cheap batteries online have been less than happy with the lifespan. Car batteries do need maintenance to keep them in top shape and like any other car parts they are prone to damage. Regular maintenance of a car battery should help to extend the battery life and avoid the dreaded dead battery problem.

Factors that Cause a Battery to Drain Quickly

There are certain factors that will cause a battery to drain quickly including idling the car. When a vehicle idles the alternator runs slowly and the battery is not given enough electricity to charge. This is also happens when drivers use their cars only for short trips of less than 20 minutes. Drivers who use their vehicles very infrequently will find the battery will drain quickly. Using a number of high powered devices in a car such as loud stereos will also put a strain on the alternator and drain the battery. Drivers who live in hot climates and put extra strain on air conditioning can also find car batteries drain quickly.

Car Battery Maintenance to Extend the Lifespan

It is important to regularly check the car battery for damage. Do not allow any dirt to build on the battery casing, this should be cleaned regularly. Make sure the battery contacts and terminals are clean, if these are dirty it is simply making it more difficult for a current to pass. Look out for damage to the battery case such as cracking or swelling and look out for corrosion and signs of battery fluid leakage. Repair any damaged parts such as cables and use distilled water to clean off any corrosion.

Checking the Battery Fluid Levels

Car batteries that come with removable covers can be checked for low fluid levels. If the electrolyte level is lower than the cell plates then this can cause problems. It only takes one inadequately filled cell to affect the batteries performance. The cell should be topped up with distilled water using a plastic or rubber funnel. Simply fill the cell with distilled water until it is a few millimetres above the top of the plate. Do not overfill the cells as this overflow can cause corrosive damage.

Be Prepared for a Dead Battery

Drivers should be prepared for the dreaded dead battery. A set of battery cables are essential for that jump start but a battery jump box is a better option. A battery jump box eliminates the need to hook up the dead battery to another vehicle. A battery jump box or jump starter is small, lightweight and can now be found for less than £50 at most car parts stores. A car battery tester is also relatively inexpensive and will be invaluable in assessing the battery voltage level. Low battery voltage levels will cause problems and the battery will need recharged.

Be Aware of Car Battery Scams

Car battery scams do occur and many motorists have been caught out. In most cases the mechanic or even the roadside recovery employee will say that a perfectly good battery needs replacing. Unless the car battery is over five years old or there has been some trouble when starting the car then it is unlikely the battery will need replacing. The battery may simply need to be charged. These scams do occur usually because the employee has been told to raise their sales quota.

Drivers who can undertake basic car battery maintenance should be able to prolong the life of the battery. Knowing how to start a dead car battery can also save on calling out roadside recovery or calling out a mechanic. Car battery maintenance is fairly simple even for those who are not technically minded and will help to extend the battery life.

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