While car batteries have a limited lifespan, how you care for and use it will help you to get the longest use out of it and save you valuable time and money. Below, we discuss important driving and maintenance tips which will help you to extend the lifespan of your battery.
1. Reduce short-distance driving
Car batteries charge while the vehicle is being driven, and short drives will not fully charge your battery. Constant, incomplete recharges can reduce the lifespan of your battery. If you frequently drive short commutes e.g. to work and back, plan a longer trip once or twice a month so the battery charges fully. If you keep the car parked, invest in a car charger or plan to drive for at least one hour every month to reactivate and recharge your battery. Portable chargers can also be used in place of another vehicle should you need help starting your vehicle because of a flat battery.
2. Keep everything off before turning the car on
Starting your car takes a lot of instant energy from the battery, and having other accessories on – radio, heater, windscreen wipers, seat-warmers etc. – will take even more energy. During cold weather, the amount of power delivered by your car battery, even when fully charged, is much less than what can be provided in warm weather. Therefore, having such accessories on may drain you battery completely when you try to start the car.
3. Do not leave your lights on
Accidentally forgetting to turn off your cabin lights or headlights can drain out your battery. To ensure you don't forget the light is on, you can place a note on your dashboard or car alarm remote or get in the habit of parking in such a way that you'll have to walk past your lights.
4. Ensure the battery is secure
Driving with a loose battery can cause vibrations that may result in leakages, short-circuits and internal damage within your car battery. If you're frequently driving bumpy roads, regularly check the terminals to ensure they are properly fastened and sitting squarely on the mounting bracket.
5. Limit idle usage
Unless you have the engine running, ensure that functions like lights, air-conditioner and car radio are turned off, since these drain power off a battery that isn't recharging. This isn't to say you can't leave the lights on to do something before leaving the vehicle, but extended use of these functions can run the battery flat so you won't be able to start next time.