David Nobes University Of Canterbury

8 Simple Tips & Trick To Extend The Life Of Your Car Battery

Your car battery should last about 3 to 5 years…

But lots of men and women find that they need to change their car battery every 1 to 2 years.

Why is this?

And what can you do to prolong your car’s battery life?

We’ll show you why car batteries die early…and what you can do to prevent this from happening.

We’ll also offer you 8 easy tips and techniques to maximize the life span of your car’s 12 volt battery.

The tips we will teach you in this guide will be easy to do…and anybody will be able to do these (even if you know nothing about cars or car batteries).

So let’s begin! …

First, You Ought to Know That Every Car Battery Lifespan Has A Limit (but most people kill their battery well before it’s time)

Even if you care for your car battery perfectly…it will still die one day.

This set lifespan is known as the battery’s”Calendar Life” and it’s completely independent of how many times the battery was charged or discharged.

However, most car batteries never make it their full”Calendar Life”…

Rather, they die early due to poor maintenance and care…which you can do something about.

A Little Background About Lead Acid Batteries Before Our 8 Battery Tips and Tricks…

Lead acid batteries are the earliest, most reliable, and most widely used form of rechargeable battery in the world.

Lead Acid Batteries have three life phases — formatting, peak, and decline.

  • Formatting is when the battery is new and needs to be used lightly.

  • Peak is the perfect performance stage, which we seek to maintain for as long as you can.

  • Decline is a slow process, but one that gradually ends in the termination of the battery.

Batteries in decline can still be used for quite a while, but must be watched.

Around this time, you may either recondition the battery or keep a close eye on it and try to replace it until a problem arises (like being not able to begin your car for work).

8 Simple Tips To Prolong The Life Of Your Car’s Lead Acid Battery

Tip 1: Do a monthly inspection of the battery terminals to be certain they’re clean and rust free.   One of the initial problems most people have with their car battery is the build-up of rust around the terminals.   Corrosion destroys the connection between the battery and the vehicle and several batteries are replaced because of a lot of corrosive build up.   But often times, this can be readily treated by simply pouring a small quantity of Cola or a DIY anti-corrosion glue (one part water to three parts baking soda) within 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 eliminated, use a clean damp rag or sponge to clean up the remaining residue and moisture. 

Tip 2: Don’t operate any car accessories (radio, lights, or electronics) before turning on the vehicle ignition and driving the vehicle.   When the car is on, the auto alternator generates electricity and charges the car battery after the battery has a voltage drop.   But if the car isn’t on, and you are using the car’s electronics, you are simply relying on the car battery to power those electronic equipment. 

This is damaging to the car battery because automobile batteries are not meant for this type of use.

Rather, car batteries are supposed to provide a sudden burst of electricity for ignition.  They are not made to offer prolonged power for electronics and other devices (that’s what a deep cycle lead acid battery could be for).   Using your car battery for a battery that powers electronics, rather than a battery that just gives you a burst of power for ignition, will damage the battery and greatly shorten it’s lifespan if it’s repeatedly used in this fashion.   So avoid operating any automobile accessories or electronics while the vehicle is off.

Tip 3: Make sure the car battery is secure and has great battery wires.   The battery has to be secured at all times.  If a battery is jostling around it will be impaired and might short circuit.   This may ruin the battery — and even damage your car whilst creating a security risk.   The same could happen when you have bad battery cables (or they are not connected properly).  So check your cables and make sure they have a secure connection also.

Tip 4: Insulate your car battery from extreme changes in temperature.  Protecting your vehicle battery from large changes in temperature will help maximize the battery’s lifespan.   To do this you can use a car battery insulating material.   Newer model cars already have these kits installed typically.  But if your car doesn’t have one, you can easily set up one yourself.   Just make sure it matches your car’s battery compartment.  Generally the companies selling these battery insulation kits will have a form on their website where you can put in your car model and year, and it’ll tell you if your battery will match their kit — such as here (top of page).   These protective battery sleeves are typically made of plastic or an acid resistant, thermal resistant material.   These automobile battery insulation kits will insulate your battery and guard it while still allowing proper ventilation.

Tip 5: Fully control your car battery at least once a week (use a car battery charger or shut-off if you have to).   Your car battery drains even when the vehicle is off.  That happens because current is drawn from the battery by car accessories (lights, radio, etc.) or the car computers.   This is the reason why people come home from long vacations and locate their car battery dead.  

Car battery chargers (regular or solar) will keep the optimum charge level of your car battery when the car is not being used.   They do this by providing enough electricity for the car accessories and car computer, so they don’t always draw current from the vehicle battery when the car is off.   As you can imagine, these chargers are very useful…especially if you go on a trip or leave your car unused for a while.  They’re also helpful if you go on a lot of short car trips (like to work and back each day) and never give your battery a opportunity to fully recharge.  Repeatedly doing this can dramatically shorten your battery’s life — unless you use a car battery charger or interchange batteries, leaving you at home to fully control.   The most important thing to remember with this suggestion is…be sure you fully charge your car battery at least once a week because it’ll greatly increase the life span of your battery.  Do this with a charger, interchanging batteries…or just going on a car ride long enough to recharge the battery.

Tip 6: Assess your vehicle battery’s water level.   Most car batteries indicate whether there is a demand for water.   So check the vehicle battery water level indicator frequently and when water is required, refill the battery with distilled water (and that is significant, ONLY use distilled water to refill your car battery).

Lead-acid batteries release hydrogen and oxygen gases when they are overcharged.  

  1. It can be explosive.

Tip 8: Check your vehicle’s alternator.   If you’re doing everything we’ve recommended in this guide but your car batteries are still dying early, you will want to look at your vehicle’s alternator (or get a mechanic to check it).   If your alternator is bad it will results in ineffective recharging of your battery and dramatically shorten your battery’s lifespan.