Jeremy Clarkson

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

Your car battery should last about 3 to 5 years…

But many people find that they have 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?

Well… That’s what we’ll discuss in this article.

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

We’ll also give you 8 simple tips and tricks to maximize the life span of your car’s 12 volt battery.

The tips we’ll 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’s Lifespan Has A Limit (however most people kill their battery well before it’s time)

Even if you care for your car battery perfectly…it will still die 1 day.

This set lifespan is called the battery’s”Calendar Life” and it’s completely independent of how often the battery was charged or discharged.

But most car batteries never make it their complete”Calendar Life”…

Instead, they die early due to poor maintenance and maintenance…that you can do something about.

Lead acid batteries are the oldest, most reliable, and most widely used type 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 has to be used gently.

  • Peak is the ideal performance stage, which we attempt to keep for as long as you can.

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

Batteries in decline can still be used for quite some time, 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 before a problem arises (like being unable to start your car for work).

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

Tip 1: Do a monthly review of the battery terminals to make sure they’re clean and corrosion free.   One of the first 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 car and many batteries are replaced because of too much corrosive build up.   But often times, this is easily treated by simply pouring a small amount of Cola or a DIY anti-corrosion glue (one part water to three parts baking soda) within the corroded areas. 

The acidity in the Cola or the alkaline properties in the DIY anti-corrosion paste will consume the rust away.   Be sure to let it dry, then rub some petroleum jelly on the terminals to prevent future corrosion.

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

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

Instead, car batteries are supposed to offer a sudden burst of power for ignition.  They’re not made to provide prolonged power for electronics and other devices (that is what a deep cycle lead acid battery could be for).   Using your car battery as a battery that powers electronics, rather than a battery that just provides you a burst of power for ignition, will damage the battery and greatly shorten it’s lifespan if it’s repeatedly utilized 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 good battery cables.   The battery has to be secured at all times.  If a battery is jostling around it’ll be impaired and might short circuit.   This will ruin the battery and even damage your car whilst creating a security risk.   The same could happen if you have bad battery cables (or they are not connected correctly ).  So check your cables and be sure they have a secure connection as well.

Protecting your vehicle battery from big changes in temperature will help optimize the battery’s lifespan.   To do this you can use a car battery insulation kit.   Newer model cars currently have these kits installed typically.  But if your car doesn’t have one, you can easily install 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 site where you can put in your car model and year, and it’ll tell you if your battery will fit their kit — such as here (top of page).   These protective battery sleeves are typically made from plastic or an acid resistant, thermal resistant material.   These automobile battery insulation kits will insulate your battery and guard it while still allowing appropriate ventilation.

Tip 5: Fully charge 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 car is off.  This happens because current is drawn from the battery by car accessories (radio, lights, etc.) or the car computers.   This is why folks come home from long holidays and find 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 that 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 plenty of short car trips (like to work and back each day) and never give your battery a chance to fully recharge.  Repeatedly doing this will dramatically enhance your battery’s life — unless you use a car battery charger or interchange batteries, leaving you at home to fully control.   The main thing to remember with this suggestion is…make sure you fully charge your car battery at least once a week since it will greatly increase the life of your battery.  Do this using a charger, interchanging batteries…or simply going on a car ride long enough to recharge the battery.

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

Never overcharge your car battery. Lead-acid batteries release hydrogen and oxygen gases when they are overcharged.  

  1. It can be volatile.

Tip 8: Assess your vehicle’s alternator.   If you are doing everything we have recommended in this guide but your car batteries are still dying early, you’ll want to look at your car’s alternator (or find a mechanic to check it).