No matter what kind of vehicle you drive, your battery is one of the most critical components. Whether you drive a brand new sports car, a rugged pickup truck or a family-friendly SUV, when your battery goes bad, you are not going anywhere.
If you are of a certain age, you may remember batteries that came with a long list of maintenance tasks, but modern batteries are largely maintenance free. That
hat you can simply ignore your battery. How you care for your battery can make a big difference in how long it lasts, and whether your engine starts when you turn the key.
Be Careful Where You Park
Battery corrosion is more likely if you park outside, and even more likely if your outdoor parking space is hot and humid. Parking your vehicle in the garage when the weather is hot and humid is one of the best ways to keep your battery running strong and keep the corrosion at bay.
If you cannot park your vehicle in the garage, seek out a parking spot that is free of plants and other debris. Parking in an overgrown lot or along a street lined with high grass could allow moisture into the engine compartment – and your battery.
Check the Connections
Modern batteries are designed to be largely maintenance free, but it is still important to check your battery on a regular basis. When you check your oil levels, fill your radiator with antifreeze or add windshield washer fluid, take a few seconds and look at the connectors on your battery.
Are the connections solid, or have they started to loosen? Do you see any corrosion on those connectors? If so, you can remove it with a wire brush and prevent the corrosion from spreading and damaging the battery itself.
Know Your Battery Life
When you buy a new battery, it will be rated for a set number of months, i.e. a 36-month battery, a 60-month battery and so on. That does not mean the battery will drop dead at that 36 or 60 month timeline; the rating is merely an expected lifespan.
You should pay more attention to your battery as its expected lifespan comes to an end. If your battery is close to its life expectancy, ask your mechanic to check it at your next oil change. If the battery has started to weaken, you still have time to replace it – before it stops working altogether and leaves you stranded.
Your battery is one of the most critical, perhaps the most critical, parts of your vehicle, and how you care for it can make an enormous difference. By following the maintenance tips listed above, you can extend the life of your battery and avoid unexpected breakdowns on the road.