4 Tips to Extend Your Car Battery Life
Car batteries have an average lifespan of three to five years. If you find yourself replacing it every one to two years, you’re probably killing it well before it’s time.
If you struggle with premature failure, you may be mistreating your battery. Here are some pointers to take note of so you can extend its battery life!
1. Switch Off Your Radio and Air-Con When Your Car is Idle
Most drivers have the habit of leaving their radio or air-con running while their car is idle or parked. But did you know these electronic components are actually shortening the life of the battery? When your car engine is running, the alternator helps the car generate electricity for these electronic components, while the battery acts as a power reserve.
When the car is left idle, the alternator shuts down and these components will draw power from the battery instead. For those unaware, the car battery is meant to provide power for ignition, and not prolonged energy for other electronic components. If you insist on waiting in your car, it’s advisable to switch off all functions to preserve battery life.
2. Ensure All Lights are Switched Off After Parking Your Car
There are times when drivers will forget to switch off their hazard or headlights after parking their cars. This momentary lapse is actually quite detrimental to a car's battery life, especially if they are left on overnight or for extended periods of time.
If you tend to leave these lights on after parking, you might want to post a note on your dashboard to remind yourself to switch them off. Alternatively, you could form a habit of walking in front of your car to check if the lights have been turned off.
3. Drive Your Car Regularly
Believe it or not but driving your car more frequently can actually improve the lifespan of the battery. If your car is not used regularly, the power cells within the battery will lose their electric charge over time.
To prevent this from happening, you should start your car engine at least once a week. If you’re planning a long overseas trip, you could have a friend or family member help you by starting your car and leaving the engine to run for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Be Diligent and Check Your Car Battery Often
Battery terminals can corrode over time and this will affect its lifespan. As a car owner, you are responsible for ensuring all engine and electronic parts are in optimal working condition. As a rule of thumb, you should pop the bonnet and check the car battery and engine at least once a month.
If you notice corrosion around the battery terminal, you should attempt to clean it with a mixture of water and baking soda. Although it's not a complete fix, this should bide you some time until your next appointment at the workshop.
Alternatively, you could invest in a portable car battery test to check the battery's overall health. If the voltage level drops too low, you probably should replace the battery with a new one.