Boosting Your Battery’s Life
One of the best ways to avoid winter car trouble woes is to ensure your car battery is in good working order. Here are some tips to help you prolong the life of your battery and give you years of trouble-free service.
- Check the water (electrolyte) level - make sure the level is not too low (it must cover the fluid plates) and, if necessary, top it up. Use distilled water only. Avoid overfilling and mop up any spillage. It’s wise to check the levels monthly in summer because a high temperature under the bonnet can cause the water to vaporize or boil off.
- Keep the battery clean - clean the terminals regularly and remove with warm (not hot), soapy water any acid or dirt which may have accumulated on the battery case as this can cause the battery to self-discharge more rapidly.
- Secure the battery - make sure the battery is carefully secured and the hold-down clamps are tightened. Allowing it to move around or vibrate can cause premature battery failure.
- Charge the battery regularly - take a one-hour, daylight drive each week to help ensure the battery stays charged. This is especially important if you usually only drive short distances or take infrequent trips. Running the engine at idle or taking short (less than 30 minutes) stop-and-go trips is not sufficient to recharge the battery and can shorten its life.
- Turn off before you turn on - make sure the lights and other accessories (heater, rear-window defroster, radio, seat-warmers, windscreen wipers) are turned off before you start the car. In cold weather a fully-charged battery provides less than half of the power it does in warm weather, and switching on the lights and other accessories before you start the engine will drain the battery even further.
- Inspect the drive belts - check the belts for any signs of fraying or cracking. Also, they should flex no more than one-half inch. A loose alternator belt is a common cause of battery failure and ensuring it’s correctly tightened could save you the inconvenience of a flat battery later.
- Service your car - poor engine condition can overload the battery, so ensuring your car is serviced regularly (as recommended by the manufacturer) will prolong the life of your battery.
- Check the battery’s charge rate - undercharging and overcharging reduce battery life, so it’s a good idea to ask your car dealership or repair workshop to check the charge rate when you have your car serviced.
If you experience a flat battery, call AA Battery Service on 082 16 111 and our battery technicians will be sent to assist you. Remember, with AA Battery Service the winter chills needn’t get you down