Tips to make your battery last longer
Updated 31 Oct 2019
Very few drivers out there haven’t had the ‘pleasure’ of dealing with a flat battery.
And if you’re one of the few, your turn could be coming soon.
Most car batteries will last between three and five years on average.
Anything more is gravy.
If you’re reading between the lines, that means you could need to replace your car’s battery shortly after your new vehicle warranty has expired.
But why is it some drivers can keep their battery working in tip-top shape for much longer?
It all boils down to car care.
With these five tips, you can help keep your car battery healthy for as long as possible.
Keep Your Car Out of the Heat
Everyone thinks cold weather is the worst thing for a car battery.
The opposite is actually true!
Extreme heat quickly deteriorates a car battery’s condition.
High temperatures cause accelerated electrolyte loss in the battery.
In other words, the water inside evaporates and the vapour seeps out.
Low electrolyte levels reduce the battery’s capacity to hold a charge.
If you can, park your car in a cool place whenever possible, out of the direct sunlight.
Keep the Battery Charged
If you tend to park your car for long stretches, the battery charge could deplete.
A tiny draw is required to power electrical components and modules at all times.
However, after a couple weeks without starting and charging, the battery can become too flat to crank the engine over.
An inexpensive trickle charger will keep your battery topped up and ready to go whenever you are.
Alternatively, a leisurely long drive once per week does the trick too, and it’s more fun.
Top Up Electrolyte Fluid
Some car batteries are serviceable – they have caps on the top that can be removed to add fluid.
If your battery is serviceable, it’s a good idea to check the electrolyte level every three months or so.
If it’s low, top it up with electrolyte fluid from an auto parts store, or use distilled water.
Service the Battery Terminals
Poor connections can prevent the alternator from charging well, and that’s the case with battery cables and terminals.
Corrosion forms and interferes with the charging process.
It’s easy to clean battery terminals and battery cables.
Water and baking soda can dissolve most of the crusty build-up, and a stiff wire brush can take the rest of it off with ease.
Turn Off Your Lights
“Did you turn your headlights off?”
It’s the question no one wants to hear when they have a flat battery.
But, it’s still the cause in more cases than people want to admit.
Set your headlights to ‘AUTO’ if you can, and make sure your interior lights are turned off before you open your doors to exit the car.
These tips will help you get the most life from your car battery.
If you have a flat battery regularly, it could be time to have it changed.
Have you got a buggered battery? No stress!
AutoGuru can help you quickly and easily get your booked in with a local battery specialist.
Jason is a Canadian automotive content writer with a background in the auto service industry, but he’s been hooked on cars and mechanics since childhood.
One of his first cars was an ’80 Mazda RX-7 that’s sorely missed to this day. A ’68 Ford Torino GT, a ’66 Ford Country Squire Woodie station wagon, and a ’96 Suzuki GSX-R 750 have spent time in his fleet of cars, bikes, and trucks over the past two decades.
Jason’s pride and joy is under construction – a turbocharged ’88 Mazda RX-7 convertible. Also on his resume is CASCAR official certification.