An average car battery should last around 3 to 5 years provided it’s maintained properly. What many find however, is that they have to buy a new car battery every 1 to 2 years. The main reason for this is poor maintenance.
Fortunately, there are basic steps on how you can prolong the life of it.
There are reasons why car batteries die early… and there are ways how you can prevent this from happening to you.
There are 6 tips to maximize the lifespan of your car’s 12 volt battery.
Every Car Battery Has A Limited Shelf Life
Even if you take extreme care of your car battery, you will eventually need to replace it.
This lifespan is called the battery’s “Calendar Life,” and it’s completely independent of how many times the battery has been charged or discharged.
Once a battery reaches the end of its “Calendar Life,” it will become unusable.
Most car batteries however, never make it to the end of their full “Calendar Life” cycle.
Instead, most die too early because of poor maintenance and care, something that you can do something about.
The Dependability Of Lead Acid Batteries
Lead acid batteries are the oldest, most dependable and the most widely used type of rechargeable battery in the world.
The 3 Life Phases Of Lead Acid Batteries
• Formatting is when the battery is new and needs to be used carefully
• Peak is the ideal performance phase, to maintain it for as long as possible
• Decline is a slow process, that gradually ends the lifespan of the battery
Batteries in decline can still be used for quite a while however, but need to be closely monitored.
Once this happens, you can either recondition the battery, or keep a close eye on it and try to replace it before a problem arises (like the car won’t start when you’re in the middle of nowhere).
6 Tips To Prolong The Life Of Your Battery
Tip 1: Do A Monthly Inspection
Check the battery terminals to make sure they are clean and corrosion free.
Usually the first problem most have with their car battery, is the buildup of corrosion around the terminals.
Corrosion destroys the connection between the battery and the vehicle, and the battery usually needs to be replaced due to excess corrosive build up.
This can be easily treated, by simply pouring a small amount of Cola or a DIY anti-corrosion paste (one part water to three parts baking soda) over the corroded areas.
The acid in the Cola or the alkaline properties in the DIY anti-corrosion paste, will eat the corrosion away.
After the corrosion is gone, use a clean damp rag or sponge to clean up the remaining residue and moisture.
Allow it dry, then rub some petroleum jelly on the terminals to prevent future corrosion.
Tip 2: Do Not Use The Cars Accessories Before Starting The Car
This is includes the radio, lights, or electronics.
When the car is running, the alternator generates electricity and charges the car battery if it has a voltage drop.
If the car is not running, and you are using the car’s electronics, you are just relying on the car battery to power those devices.
This is detrimental to the car battery, because they’re not meant for this type of use.
What the car battery is intended for, is to provide a sudden burst of power to the ignition.
They’re not made to provide prolonged power for the cars electronics, and other devices (that’s what a deep cycle lead acid battery would be for).
Using your car battery’s accessories, will damage the battery and shorten it’s lifespan if it’s done so repeatedly.
Tip 3: Make Sure The Battery Is Mounted With Good Cables
The battery needs to be securely mounted at all times.
If a battery is moving around, it could potentially short circuit.
This will severely damage the battery – and may even damage your car while creating a safety risk.
The same could happen if you have faulty battery cables (or they’re not connected properly).
So always check your cables, and make sure they have a secure connection at all times.
Tip 4: Insulate Your Car Battery From Extreme Changes In Temperature
Protecting your car battery from extreme temperature drops, will help maximize the battery’s lifespan.
You can do so by using a car battery insulation kit. Newer model cars usually have these kits installed.
If your car doesn’t have one, you can easily install one yourself.
Tip 5: Check Your Car Battery’s Water Level
Most car batteries will have an indicator on the dashboard, if the water level is low.
Check this level regularly and if water is needed, refill the battery with distilled water.
Tip 6: Check Your Car’s Alternator
If you’ve followed all the tips and your car battery is still weak, then check your car’s alternator (or get a mechanic to check it for you).
If your alternator is in bad shape, it will result in ineffective recharging of your battery, and will dramatically shorten it’s lifespan.
Safety Precaution #1
Before disconnecting your car battery, always read the owner’s manual first.
Most commonly (if not stated otherwise in the owner’s manual) the negative cable should always be disconnected first, and then the positive cable next.
When you re-connect the battery, connect the positive cable first followed by the negative cable.
If it’s connected in the wrong order, it may potentially blow out the car’s fuses and other electronics.
Also, remove your car keys from the ignition, before doing any work on the battery.
There are some cars, that are more sensitive to this procedure than others – such as German luxury cars.
Safety Precaution #2
If you are charging a battery, always do it in a well-ventilated area.
If you are doing work on a car battery that’s already installed, make sure you open the hood and allow it to ventilate for a few minutes first, before doing any work.
What To Do If Your Battery Dies?…
If your car battery dies or if it’s on the decline, there is hope!
There is a solution that can save you thousands of dollars a year!
You can now recondition your car battery or any battery for that matter, and bring it back to life again, from home, without spending $200+ on buying a brand new one.
There’s actually a simple method that you can learn called the EZ Battery Reconditioning program, that will bring a dead (or dying) 12v lead acid car battery back to life again.